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Monday 14 November 2011

Evelyn Lauder dies - her legacy lives on forever

The stalwart of breast cancer awareness - Evelyn H. Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President and Head of Fragrance Development Worldwide - has died from complications of non-genetic ovarian cancer at the age of 75, in New York City.

Survived by husband Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of the Estée Lauder Companies; son William, Executive Chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies; son Gary, Managing Director of Lauder Partners LLC, and his wife Laura, General Partner of Lauder Partners; and five grandchildren, this woman changed the face - and colour - of charity forever.

“My mother carried the torch of our Company heritage and the values that were passed to her by my grandmother, Mrs. Estée Lauder,” said William Lauder. “My mother and father were life partners as well as business partners. They nurtured the culture and growth of the Estée Lauder Companies, and as we grew, my mother was our creative compass and pillar of strength. Together my family and the Company celebrate the beautiful person she was.”

Speaking for the company, President and Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Freda said, “Evelyn embodied the heart and soul of the Estée Lauder Companies. She was one of the pivotal architects of our vision, values, and culture. She was dynamic, creative, smart, endearingly warm, generous, and incredibly gifted at connecting with people. Her enthusiasm was contagious.”

Evelyn Lauder certainly led an incredible life and is a remarkable American success story. Born in Vienna, Austria, her parents fled from Europe with her during the Nazi occupation, eventually settling in New York City. The story goes that she was asleep when the ship bringing them to the United States arrived in New York Harbor, her mother woke her up to see the Statue of Liberty. Evelyn Lauder would remember, and be inspired by, that symbol of hope for the rest of her life.

Later, after receiving her degree, she was a public school teacher in New York City for several years. As a 'college freshman', she had been introduced to Leonard A. Lauder, the older son of Estée and Joseph Lauder, owners of a small family cosmetics company, and they married in 1959. That same year she joined the family business.

She had many roles, including: New Product Director and Marketing Director. Thanks to her teaching background she created the company’s brand training programs. She also measured colour standards in makeup, sold products in stores, and made numerous personal appearances.

When the Company began creative work on what became Clinique in 1968, Evelyn thought of the name Clinique and became the first to wear the now ubiquitous Clinique white lab coat after she was named the brand’s first Training Director.

In 1989, Evelyn assumed the role of Senior Corporate Vice President and Head of Fragrance Development Worldwide. She led the development of the company’s most globally successful fragrances, including the best-selling Beautiful and Pleasures.

Evelyn's philanthropy in New York City was renowned. She served on the Board of Overseers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and on the boards of the Central Park Conservancy and the Evelyn and Leonard Lauder Foundation. Many other charities also benefited from her guidance and renowned generosity, including nonprofits devoted to health and human services, education and inner-city schools, the environment, women’s causes, and the arts.

Evelyn Lauder was perhaps best known to the public for her work in bringing global awareness to women’s health, a passion that stemmed from a personal experience with early stage breast cancer. In 1992, she co-created the Pink Ribbon, now recognised as the worldwide symbol of breast health, and launched the Estée Lauder Companies Breast Cancer Awareness (BCA) Campaign (www.bcacampaign.com). Each year, the BCA Campaign raises funds through its brands, employees, and retail partners around the world to help support breast cancer research. Mrs. Lauder founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in 1993 to provide crucial funds to breast cancer medical and scientific researchers around the world. BCRF (www.bcrfcure.org) has raised more than $350 million and supports 186 researchers globally.

“Each October, it is extraordinary to see the absolute dedication of our employees around the world to the BCA Campaign. Evelyn’s mission became our mission; her passion became our passion. She inspired all of us, and we will continue to move forward with her vision to rid the world of breast cancer,” said Mr. Freda.

Today, Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance, and hair care products. The company's products are sold in over 150 countries and territories under the following brand names: Estée Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Lab Series, Origins, M•A•C, Bobbi Brown, Tommy Hilfiger, Kiton, La Mer, Donna Karan, Aveda, Jo Malone, Bumble and bumble, Darphin, Michael Kors, American Beauty, Flirt!, GoodSkin™ Labs, Grassroots™ Research Labs, Sean John, Missoni, Tom Ford, Coach, Ojon, Smashbox, and Ermenegildo Zegna.

Rest in peace to an incredible woman who changed the face of charity - and beauty - forever.

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