The third generation has come of age at the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.
Jane Lauder, senior vice president and general manager of the Origins brand, was elected Tuesday to Lauder’s board. She joins her cousin, William Lauder, and her sister, Aerin Lauder, on the board of the company founded by their iconic grandmother, Estée Lauder, in 1946.
“I see this role as an evolution of my role with the company,” said Jane Lauder, 36, who is succeeding her father, Ronald Lauder, 65, on the board. The elder Lauder joined the board in 1968. Jane Lauder will continue to serve in her role at Origins, and Ronald Lauder will continue to serve as chairman of Clinique Laboratories LLC. Leonard Lauder remains chairman emeritus. “Origins is my key focus, but being part of the executive leadership is a natural way to round out my experience,” said Jane Lauder. “My father has been a great mentor, and he will continue to be. It is important to him and to my uncle [Leonard Lauder] that the next generation continues to grow.”
Her appointment is effective immediately. “In fact, they made me vote on something today,” she said with a laugh. Her elevation is the latest in a series of changes that have occurred at Lauder since president and chief executive officer Fabrizio Freda joined the company in March 2008.
Jane Lauder, who was appointed to her role at Origins in July 2008, has served in a variety of roles already. From 2001 to 2003, she was vice president of marketing for the Stila brand (which the company sold in 2006), next moving to Lauder’s BeautyBank division as vice president of marketing. During her tenure, Jane Lauder directed the creation of the skin care and cosmetics line American Beauty and the color cosmetics brand Flirt. In July 2006, she was named senior vice president of Clinique. In this role, she was responsible for the brand’s overall strategic marketing and positioning, and helped to develop products and take the brand into new channels and categories worldwide. Prior to joining the Estée Lauder Cos. in 1996, Jane Lauder worked in the advertising industry.
William Lauder praised Jane Lauder’s “innovative marketing sense, long-standing commitment to our company, and proven talent.”
“Jane is extremely articulate and very passionate about the company,” said William Lauder. “She has been an active member of the management team for quite some time, as has Aerin, and I am thrilled to have her on the board.”
When asked if Jane Lauder could one day run the company, William Lauder replied, “I expect that Jane will continue to grow as a leader in our company, and that she will rise in the leadership in the years to come.”
Of Jane Lauder’s role at Origins, William Lauder said, “She is doing an outstanding job with Origins in a very challenging economy. There have been a number of competitors in the brand’s 19-year history, but none that can match the brand’s innovation in product ideas and ingredients. Jane brings an extraordinary passion, focus and dedication to the brand.”
William Lauder also praised the work of his uncle, Ronald Lauder. “His contributions have been invaluable,” said William Lauder.
“I am proud that the next generation of our family will continue to help lead this great company,” stated Ronald Lauder. “This is an important opportunity for my daughter Jane to continue to evolve as a leader and help the company carry out the next phase of its growth.”
Caris & Co. analyst Linda Bolton said the move was not surprising. “Ronald [Lauder] has been distancing himself from the business for some time and selling stock, whereas Jane [Lauder] has been getting more involved.”