Estée Lauder might be a massive, publicly owned company, but it’s also a family business, tightly controlled by the Lauder clan—until now. On Monday, it will welcome new president Fabrizio Freda, who will likely eventually replace CEO William Lauder—and become the first outsider to run the cosmetics giant. The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the complicated family politics.
William’s legendary father, Leonard, never stopped watching his every move as CEO, while his uncle Ronald sold millions in stock to finance outside interests—including art and politics. “This is a company built on the ideas of a small group of people, and they're all named Lauder,” William Lauder said of his pursuit of Freda. “I needed an outside person.”