Evelyn H. Lauder
November 15, 2011
The employees of the Estee Lauder Companies deeply mourn the passing of Evelyn H. Lauder, senior corporate vice president and head of Fragrance Development Worldwide. She died peacefully of complications from non-genetic ovarian cancer on Nov. 12 at the age of 75 at her home in New York City, surrounded by her family.
Mrs. Lauder was a beloved friend and colleague to the entire employee family. She was a risk-taker and trailblazer, and always led with style. One of her greatest joys in life and business was applying the many aspects of her creativity and invaluable insights to new products and brands.
A schoolteacher by training, Mrs. Lauder joined the Estee Lauder Companies in its infancy in 1959. Ever the teacher, Mrs. Lauder created ground-breaking education training programs – practices the Estee Lauder Companies uses to this day to maintain its place as a leader in global prestige beauty. She helped her much-loved mother-in-law, Mrs. Estee Lauder, develop and launch the company’s first men’s fragrance, Aramis. And she was the driving force behind the idea for the brand Clinique, coming up with the brand’s name and becoming its first training director.
Her passion for beauty and nature, as well as her work on Aramis, helped frame what would become one of her most important imprints on the company. In 1989, Mrs. Lauder began a successful 22-year career in fragrances after discovering her innate talent for recognizing distinct fragrance notes. It was an interest she shared with Mrs. Estee Lauder and one that stemmed from Mrs. Lauder’s lifelong passion for flowers and gardening. Her rare ability to visualize unique fragrance combinations led to some of the company’s most successful global fragrances, including the best-selling Beautiful and Pleasures. In 1989, she assumed the role of senior corporate vice president and head of Fragrance Development Worldwide, a position she held and cherished until her death.
In 1992, Mrs. Lauder began her mission to bring global awareness to breast cancer when she launched the company’s Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign and co-created the pink ribbon, now known as the worldwide symbol of breast health. Through its brands, employees and fundraising initiatives with its retail partners, the BCA Campaign has raised more than $50 million for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Mrs. Lauder in 1993 to provide crucial funds to the world’s top medical and scientific researchers.
Mrs. Lauder loved the Estee Lauder Companies and she loved its people, whom she considered part of her extended family. Those who had the opportunity to meet and work with her were touched by her kindness, warmth and deep, personal interest in them, whether they were behind the department store counter or a senior executive. She made a point to visit our counters in every country she visited and was sincerely interested in people’s lives. She was known for her quick humor and was valued for her advice on almost any subject: love, marriage, finding the perfect lipstick – even on how to make her famous brisket.
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Mrs. Lauder’s caring and pioneering spirit, business talent, fiery charm, extraordinary philanthropic drive, and enthusiastic love of life will be sorely missed by us all. She had an enormous impact on each one of us. She was a treasured role model to every employee of the Estee Lauder Companies, and our thoughts are with the Lauder family during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Evelyn Lauder Founder’s Fund: http://www.bcrfcure.org or 60 East 56th Street; 8th floor; New York, N.Y. 10022.