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Cosmetics family business icon Lauder dies

By Rashmi Kumar

Evelyn Lauder, who worked at cosmetics and perfume giant Estee Lauder Companies, died on 12 November aged 75.

Lauder, who began working at the American family business in 1959, died from complications of ovarian cancer, according to a company statement.

At the time of her death, Lauder was the senior corporate vice president and head of fragrance development worldwide at the New York-based group.

The mother of the company’s executive chairman William, who was one of CampdenFB's top 50 family business leaders, Lauder’s career started as a teacher in New York. After her marriage to Leonard, son of the founder and namesake of the Estee Lauder Companies, Lauder became product and marketing director at the family-controlled firm, known for brands including Origins and American Beauty.

“My mother carried the torch of our company heritage and the values that were passed to her by my grandmother Estee Lauder,” said William in the statement. “My mother and father were life partners as well as business partners. They nurtured the culture and growth of the Estee Lauder Companies, and as we grew, my mother was our creative compass and pillar of strength.”

Evelyn Lauder is also well known as the co-creator of the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness, and for founding the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993 – the foundation has raised more than $350 million (€259 million) since its creation.

She is survived by her husband Leonard, chairman emeritus of the $8.8 billion business, son William and Gary, and five grandchildren. Founded in 1946 by Estee Lauder, the family controls around 88% of the group’s voting shares.