NEW YORK — Rebecca C. McGreevy, senior vice president of public relations at Estee Lauder Cos., died Monday afternoon after collapsing on a Manhattan Street.
McGreevy, 62, was pronounced dead, apparently of heart failure, at Roosevelt Hospital, where she was taken by paramedics, according to Lauder executives. McGreevy was standing on 44th Street at 2:30 p.m. after finishing a luncheon meeting with Bonnie Fuller, editor of Marie Claire magazine, at the Royalton Hotel, when she was stricken.
With a stately bearing and a diplomatic demeanor, McGreevy could be counted on to keep a cool head under a very hot spotlight. Her soft-spoken style belied a persistent and highly focused mind that enabled her to juggle complex situations simultaneously — sometimes on more than one continent — from a public offering to an opening in Moscow.
“Our loss is profound,” said Leonard Lauder, chairman and chief executive officer. “For 30 years the Estee Lauder Cos. spoke with Rebecca’s voice and wrote with her words. Rebecca’s commitment to the Estee Lauder Cos. and to the Lauder family was unparalleled and her insight, her humor and her caring will always be part of us.”
McGreevy, who joined Lauder in 1966, had devoted her career to building one of the most efficient public relations operations in the cosmetics industry. With a staff of 35, she was in charge of consumer and press relations for a global business amounting to nearly $3 billion in sales. She oversaw product launch and corporate activities encompassing Lauder’s five U.S. divisions, plus the company’s far-flung foreign operations, including the opening of shops in Budapest, Warsaw, Prague and Moscow.
She also helped shape huge publicity events, such as the widely covered meeting in 1988 between Raisa Gorbachev and Estee Lauder.
McGreevy had served on the board of the Fashion Group International. She was a member of the Women’s Forum, the Cosmetic Executive Women and the President’s Business Advisory Council of the Women’s City Club. She was on the public affairs committee of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, and she was on the boards of Women Executives in Public Relations and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Born in Atlanta, McGreevy graduated from Emory University before earning an MBA degree from New York University in 1984. She was elected to the Emory Board of Trustees in 1992.
She is survived by her husband, Charles, and a sister, Carol Donahoe, of Denver. Funeral services are being planned.

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