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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.

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Lauder said, “The brand continues to evolve in the clarity of its message and communication. What the brand needs to do is to put all the disparate elements together. It is one of the leading fragrance brands. It’s one of the leading treatment brands. It’s one of the leading makeup brands.

“Add it all up,” he continued, “and it’s one of the leading brands altogether. The question is how to add up these elements to push the homogeneity of the brand and propel it forward.”

Lauder indicated that a new president will be named for MAC within a few weeks, and said that executive also will oversee the development of the Sean John brand, which will be distributed by the Aramis and Designer Fragrances Group. A general manager for the Sean John division also is expected to be named.

Bousquet-Chavanne called Demsey “the perfect executive to continue Estée Lauder’s growth plan,” noting that at MAC, Demsey has exhibited “a tremendous fashion sensibility” as well as an ability to grow the brand on a global basis. MAC is currently available in 45 countries.

“Lauder is very well positioned in Europe and Asia, as well as in the U.S.,” said Bousquet-Chavanne. “As such, the brand requires a global thinker at the helm. And John not only has that ability, he has a great entrepreneurial spirit.” He also noted that this move “indicates William’s commitment to growth for this organization.”

In fact, the move is a return to roots for Demsey, who, until joining MAC Cosmetics in April 1998 first as general manager and then as president, had been senior vice president of sales and education for the Estée Lauder brand. Demsey spent seven years at the Lauder brand, first signing on in 1991 as vice president and West Coast field sales manager. His rise through the ranks was quick — a 1992 appointment to group vice president, sales, for the West Coast; a 1993 promotion to senior vice president of sales for the brand, and a 1995 move that added education responsibilities to his duty list.

After the Lauder Cos. completed its purchase of MAC in 1998, Demsey moved to MAC to help spearhead its growth within the Lauder organization. Prior to joining Estée Lauder, Demsey was vice president of sales for Borghese, Alexandra de Markoff and Lancaster cosmetics. Earlier in his career, he held executive positions with both Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.
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