Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., will receive the 2018 John B. Fairchild Honor at the WWD Apparel & Retail CEO Summit in New York on Oct. 30.
The John B. Fairchild Honor was named after WWD’s late chairman and editorial director. The award, chosen by WWD’s current editors, was introduced in 2016 as an annual celebration of creative vision, performance and leadership in the fashion and beauty industries. Lauder is the third recipient, following Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld, who were honored in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
“I’m so proud to receive the John B. Fairchild Award, named after my greatest hero of the 20th century,” Lauder said. “John was a dear friend, and the great transformer of fashion and people news. No one can match John’s wit, character and vision.”
James Fallon, editorial director of WWD, said, “Leonard Lauder’s leadership has impacted not just the beauty world, but everything from retail to brand building to art. He is a true visionary whose passion, drive and insight are legendary. He likes to say, ‘Stay in the game’ and that is exactly what he continues to do — and serves as an inspiration to us all.”
For Lauder, whose career has spanned six decades at the business his mother, Estée, founded, the honor comes in his ninth year as chairman emeritus.
Lauder joined the family business in 1958 when it was doing annual sales of about $800,000. He focused on growing the company’s research and development programs, and spearheaded international expansion. Lauder oversaw a massive period of growth for the company, which launched brands such as Aramis, Clinique, Lab Series and Origins under his leadership. He was also at the helm when the business made its public market debut in 1995 at $26 per share. Today, the company’s stock trades at around $146.75.
Lauder served as president of the business from 1982 to 1985, chief executive officer from 1982 to 1999, and chairman from 1995 through 2009. Then, in 2009, he moved into his current chairman emeritus role. For fiscal 2017, ELC was approaching $12 billion in sales.
In addition to his leadership positions at ELC, Lauder has played a key role in mentoring generations of young beauty executives.
Outside of the beauty industry, Lauder has a long-standing relationship with the art world. He is a trustee of the Whitney Museum, which named its New York Meatpacking District building the Leonard A. Lauder building, in Lauder’s honor. Lauder has also donated artworks to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The John B. Fairchild Honor is one of five awards to be handed out at WWD’s summit, scheduled over two days at The Wagner hotel in Battery Park. The recipients of other honors — including ones for outstanding company performance large and small market capitalization, executive leadership and social responsibility — are to be revealed at a later date.