From a depth of experience that dates back to the hardscrabble 1940s, this prestige beauty industry legend surveys the world’s current travails and sees opportunity.
Leonard A. Lauder officially joined Estée Lauder at age 25, but for 12 years he had been working unofficially for the cosmetics startup his parents had launched in their family kitchen in 1946. Since becoming Chairman Emeritus in 1999, he has remained actively involved with the company, both as a Board member and internally as “Chief Teaching Officer,” perhaps the proudest role Lauder has held during his more than 60-year tenure at The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC).
Lauder notes that ELC is not a family business; rather, it represents a family in business. Publicly traded, ELC is a $16 billion-a-year company (based on FY21 estimated net sales) intent on serving its customers, employees, shareholders and communities. Today, the company is comprised of more than 25 global prestige beauty brands, including its namesake brand and Clinique, as well as several brands acquired during Lauder’s tenure as CEO, such as MAC, Aveda, Bobbi Brown and La Mer.
At 88, the story of his long and illustrious life and career was published as the memoir The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty. In the captivating personal account, Lauder reflects on his childhood, growing up during the Great Depression, his passion for education, foreign policy, philanthropy, and the art world, and his work growing ELC into the beauty powerhouse it is today. He recently spoke with Katharine Crallé, Director, and Madi Wallace, Associate, both of Brunswick’s New York office.