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Lauder Names Wood to Lead Global Strategic Modernization Initiative

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. announced the appointment of Christopher Wood to lead the company's Strategic Modernization Initiative (SMI) as it moves into the next phase. Wood, who will become senior vice president, Global Strategic Modernization Initiative, has been with the company since 1993, most recently as general manager of the affiliate in Korea, which is the company's fifth largest market. In this newly created position he will be based in New York and become a member of the company's executive leadership team, program management team and SMI Steering Team.

He will oversee all aspects of the SMI project, including the ongoing design and execution, integration of people and processes and timing of future phases.

Wood has extensive international experience and brand expertise, according to the company, which will allow him to quickly evaluate and decide upon the most efficient ways to execute the SMI strategy. Since the company launched its SMI effort a few years ago, it has been rolled out largely to select functions and certain manufacturing operations. The next phase will take SMI into the affiliates and regions, requiring a senior business leader who understands the complexities of the commercial side of the business in various markets.

"I am pleased to have such a talented and experienced executive heading up SMI, which is important to the success of our long-term corporate strategy," said Fabrizio Freda, president and CEO, The Estée Lauder Companies. "I'm also looking forward to the valuable perspective and insights he will contribute to our executive leadership team."

Currently, the company's Aveda brand, U.K. manufacturing operations and North American financial backbone are using SMI processes. The company's nine North American manufacturing facilities are scheduled to go live this spring, followed by the affiliates and regions. The Company expects the SMI project to be largely complete by fiscal 2012.

Hervé Bouvier, who currently heads the Estée Lauder brand in the Asia/Pacific region, will succeed Wood as general manager of Korea. Both appointments will take effect by April 15, 2010. Under Bouvier's leadership during the last 3.5 years, the Estée Lauder brand enjoyed strong sales growth in Asia/Pacific, led by its skin care products, which, in turn, helped fuel the region's solid expansion.