Focus on World Family Business Leaders | William Lauder

This week Family Business Office for its fourth edition of Focus On World Business Leaders brings you William Lauder, executive chairman of Estee Lauder Companies, and the third-generation heir.

In 1946, Estée and Joseph Lauder founded Estée Lauder Cosmetics. By 1960, after years of hard work and ingenuity, the Lauders were on their way — from a mom-and-pop operation to becoming one of the most influential names in the beauty industry.

Seventy years since its creation, second- and-third-generation members of the Lauder family remain at the heart of the publicly traded, family-controlled company, actively engaged in its leadership.

William Philip Lauder (born April 11, 1960) executive chairman of the famed Estée Lauder Companies, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of skin care, make-up, fragrance and hair care products is the son of Evelyn Lauderand Leonard A. Lauder; and a grandson of Estée and Joseph Lauder, the founders of the Estée Lauder Companies.

Lauder joined The Estée Lauder Companies in 1986 as regional marketing director of Clinique USA in the New York Metro area. Lauder then spent two years at Prescriptives as field sales manager.

From 1990 to 1998, Lauder was vice president/general manager and then president of Origins Natural Resources Inc., where he led the introduction and development of this brand. Under his leadership, Origins created a store-within-a-store concept and had the highest growth rate of cosmetic companies in the U.S.

From June 1998 to July 2001, Lauder was president, Clinique Laboratories. Under his leadership, Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion became the best-selling skin care product in U.S. department stores, and Clinique launched its first anti-aging product, Stop Signs Visible Anti-Aging Serum, which won the Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) Award for “Best Skin Care Product in Limited Distribution” in 2000.

From 2001 to 2004, Lauder was group president of The Estée Lauder Companies, and president of Clinique Worldwide. In this role, he led the worldwide businesses of Clinique and Origins and the company’s retail division.

Lauder succeeded Fred H. Langhammer as chief executive officer in July 2004, a position he held until July 2009, when he was succeeded by Fabrizio Freda. Lauder had previously been chief operating officer of The Estée Lauder Companies, a position he held since January 2003 Lauder was responsible for the oversight of all of the Company’s global operations.

Lauder’s philanthropic involvement was also evident when in 1992 William’s mother, Evelyn Lauder , embarked on a mission to help end breast cancer by launching a now world-renowned campaign, which has raised more than $79 million to fund live-saving research.

Family Business Office will on a frequent basis be offering insights into World Family Business Leaders through our Focus On features. Follow us on our Facebook page and Family Business Office website at

At the Family Business Office we can offer you assistance in dealing with family business issues through incentives supporting advisory and mediation services. Contact us today on