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CEW Newsmaker Forum with Fabrizio Freda
Posted: February 22, 2010
Fabrizio Freda, president and CEO, The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., and Carlotta Jacobson, president, CEW, at Newsmaker Forum in New York City.
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On the subject of communication and the Internet, Freda said, “The digital world is a two-way communication. I see a movement from the way of advertising to the idea of story telling. In 10 years, we may be speaking about story tellers, like in villages 1,000 years ago, where people of the village told stories to the other villagers, and these [stories] traveled from village to village. Outside North America, in Latin America or Asia, we see the world going in different directions. The most exciting consumer is now in Asia. They are optimistic, feeling everything is possible, 1.3 billion people feeling this way is very powerful.”
Regarding leadership, Freda said, “There’s strategy, being able to connect thoughts to see the future, and creativity is also key. In the end, I expect it from everyone. There’s another creativity that comes from connecting the dots. It’s creativity that is more accessible to individuals. I also believe in the ability to serve, and I believe in leadership from every chair. The concept of service is important. They may set the vision, but a good leader knows how to serve and how to say thank you. That brings back the power to the vision.”
When asked what keeps him up at night, Freda joked and said, “P&G Prestige.” To elaborate, he stated, “Obviously, I mean the capable competitors who manage mass. The real competition is to know where the consumers of the future will go, and the real fight is between mass and prestige. It’s going to be a tough proposition.” He emphasized, “I want to meet the real people. I keep physically close to the consumer, and I read very carefully all the consumer information and data from around the world.”
In response to Scalamandre’s query about what Freda believed would be his key legacy, he replied, “My key legacy point is to become a truly global company. The second element of my legacy is that I’ve inherited a jewel. I need to give back even better, and more recognizably at every level of the company, and recognize and continue to utilize the talent that makes this the company of choice for people to work. My work will be finished when the quality of our results will reach the quality of our people.”
Additional information may be found at www.cew.org.