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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.

In his new role, Demsey’s first duty will be to “relearn the Estée Lauder business, and to understand from an Estée Lauder perspective the global dynamics and the opportunities that this brand has before it.” He vowed to look at the brand with “fresh eyes — with a sense of the heritage of the brand, and where it’s going.” And, he added, “there will be a transition period [between his two roles] as I have a responsibility to make sure that transition is done respectfully and responsibly.”

Once that transition is complete, Bousquet-Chavanne will closely examine global channel diversification opportunities for the company, particularly those in the European market, he said. As well, he will examine regional dynamics around the globe, looking at both regional-only products and their prospects for globalization.

And, while Bousquet-Chavanne would not comment on specifics, he did hint that acquisitions could be part of the company’s strategy to grow the Estée Lauder Cos. in the short term. “Much of the growth of the organization [in the last several years] has been internal,” he said. “The company has done an amazing job of doing this, but to get to a $10 billion level, we will also need to look at other areas.”

Bousquet-Chavanne joined the Lauder brand in 2001 with a mandate of continuing to drive the brand’s evolution process. Under his direction, the brand has made a number of strides, including signing models Carolyn Murphy and Liya Kebede to supplant Elizabeth Hurley in advertising efforts; revamping packaging and counter designs; building on the brand’s strengths in skin care and color cosmetics, and launching a powerhouse fragrance masterbrand, Beyond Paradise.

Demsey’s prowess in building a multichannel, multinational, financially driven distribution network at MAC will come in handy as the Estée Lauder brand’s freshening efforts continue. Over the past several years, the Lauder brand has attempted to ratchet down the age of its core consumer a bit, in particular with an aim of increasing the brand’s relevance among consumers in the 25- to 35-year-old age bracket.
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