The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. announced that it has completed its senior management succession plan first announced in November 2007. Completion of the plan was approved by the company’s board of directors the week of March 23, 2009. The appointments will be effective July 1, 2009, the start of the company’s fiscal year 2010.
Named as president and CEO, Fabrizio Freda, who is currently president and COO, will be responsible for developing the company’s overall vision, strategy, financial objectives and investment priorities. He will be accountable for the achievement of the company’s overall corporate performance objectives—including revenue, profit and return on invested capital goals. Freda will also become a member of the company’s board of directors as of July 1, 2009.
William P. Lauder, 48, the company’s current CEO, will become executive chairman and will serve as chairman of The Estée Lauder Companies’ board of directors. As executive chairman, Lauder will partner with Freda to create significant long-term shareholder value for the company’s investors. Together with Freda, Lauder will help drive and support the company’s brand and global expansion opportunities in addition to his day-to-day management responsibilities.
Leonard Lauder, the current chairman of the board, will remain on the board and become chairman emeritus.
Freda has been a key architect of the company’s long-term strategic plan, which is focused on gaining market share in the global prestige beauty industry and improving profitability. The four-year strategy prioritizes the company’s most promising opportunities, including its core brands, most profitable categories, high-growth distribution channels, expanding markets, and important countries and regions. The strategy’s other critical elements are designed to reduce expenses, integrate brands and regions to improve efficiency and leverage scale, and turn around underperforming brands.
“It is a great honor to lead this fantastic company to even greater heights of success,” said Freda. “I’m pleased to have gained the confidence of the Lauder family, the board and, most of all, the company’s greatest asset—its more than 30,000 employees worldwide. As we embark on this next chapter, guided by our new corporate vision to imagine, integrate and innovate, we expect to deliver unparalleled creativity, improve efficiency and unite the brands and regions into a cohesive whole.”
“Fabrizio is a superb leader. In just one year, he has done a tremendous job in leading the implementation of our company’s long-term strategic plan,” said William Lauder. “Fabrizio expertly balances the need for greater efficiencies and financial discipline while fostering innovation and creativity. I believe we have great potential to continue to develop groundbreaking, innovative products, grow market share, and find new avenues of distribution as the leading prestige beauty player worldwide.”
“I am extremely proud of how far William has taken the company during his tenure as CEO," said Leonard Lauder. "During his watch, the company accelerated its international growth significantly, particularly in China and Russia, and successfully expanded its global reach by entering new countries such as India and Vietnam. William was the driving force in expanding distribution into new channels, including company-owned free-standing stores and the fast growing direct response television channel. He also led the company’s e-commerce initiative, which today is our fastest growing channel."
Prior to joining The Estée Lauder Companies, Freda had a 20-year career at Procter & Gamble, where he was responsible for various operating, marketing and key strategic efforts. Earlier in his career he directed marketing and strategic planning for Gucci SpA. Freda earned degrees in economics and business administration from the University of Naples, Italy.