Beauty Makeover: Demsey Takes Over Estée Lauder Brand

Estée Lauder Cos. shook up its top management lineup by naming MAC Cosmetics president John Demsey as president of its signature brand.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne William Lauder Sean “P Diddy” Combs and John Demsey

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, William Lauder, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and John Demsey.

Photo By David Turner

NEW YORK — Estée Lauder Cos. shook up its top management lineup Thursday by naming MAC Cosmetics president John Demsey as president of its flagship Estée Lauder brand.

Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, the group president who has run the Lauder division since 2001 while also supervising MAC and the Aramis and Designer Fragrance Group, will continue to oversee Lauder’s development while Demsey directs the brand.

Bousquet-Chavanne will focus more fully on strategic initiatives, new acquisition possibilities and growth plans for Estée Lauder, as well as for MAC, Aramis, and the Designer Fragrances Group, whose brands include Donna Karan Cosmetics, Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Spade and Michael Kors. Meanwhile, Demsey will continue the brand rejuvenation process begun by Bousquet-Chavanne.

“I’m very excited about the broadening of my responsibilities within the Estée Lauder Cos.,” Bousquet-Chavanne said Thursday, calling three years of leading Lauder’s day-to-day operations “an incredible adventure.” Going forward, he added, “the focus of my energy will be on achieving William [Lauder]’s vision of getting us to be a $10 billion company.”

The company reported net sales of $5.79 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2004; while Lauder does not break out sales figures of individual brands, industry sources estimated that the Lauder brand is approaching $2 billion in retail sales, while MAC is said to be in the neighborhood of $500 million in retail sales.

A successor for Demsey at MAC has not yet been named, although that announcement is expected within the next few weeks.

In an exclusive telephone interview with WWD from Asia on Thursday, William Lauder, the recently minted Estée Lauder chief executive officer, explained that relieving Bousquet-Chavanne of day-to-day responsibilities of running the Lauder division “will allow Patrick to spend more time on the more strategic issues.”

Asked what issues he has in mind, Lauder said the company has “a tremendous opportunity in the fragrance world,” particularly overseas. Lauder pointed out that two of the largest fragrance markets are Europe, where 60 percent of the beauty business is made up of fragrance, and travel retail, where the same ratio holds.

Lauder also said the new dynamic will give Bousquet-Chavanne a different perspective on the Lauder brand, since he will be viewing it from a more elevated vantage point. As well, he praised the job that Bousquet-Chavanne has done in restoring the luster of the Lauder brand. “Patrick has done an exceptional job,” he said, while also lauding Demsey’s obvious skills and abilities. “I want John to take it to the next level.”
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