Leonard Lauder’s Eye-Opening Tales

In His much-anticipated memoir, entitled The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty (Harper Business), Chairman Emeritus and former CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies Leonard Lauder shares the business and life lessons he learned as well as the adventures he had while helping transform the business his mother founded in 1946 in the family kitchen into an iconic and beloved brand and ultimately into the world’s largest global prestige beauty company.

The Lauder family in 1978. (Courtesy of Leonard Lauder; Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)

In its infancy in the 1940s and 50s, the company comprised a handful of products, sold under a single brand in just a few prestigious department stores across the United States. Today, The Estée Lauder Companies constitutes one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of prestige skincare, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, comprised of a diverse portfolio of more than 25 brands whose products are sold in over 150 countries and territories. Its growth and success were led by Leonard Lauder, Estée Lauder’s oldest son, who envisioned and effected this expansion during a remarkable 60-year tenure, including leading the company as CEO and Chairman.

Cover of “The Company I Keep” (Courtesy of Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Leonard Lauder with his wife, Evelyn, and son in Palm Beach, Florida, 1972.(Courtesy of Leonard Lauder/Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Lauder family photo in Palm Beach, Florida, circa 2000. (Photo by Stephen Leek)
Estée Lauder in 1951. (Courtesy of Leonard Lauder/Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Toddler Leonard Lauder with Estée Lauder, circa 1930. (Courtesy of Leonard Lauder/Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Judy and Leonard Lauder in Maine. (Courtesy of Eliana Lauder)

In this captivating personal account complete with great stories as only he can tell them, Mr. Lauder, now known as The Estée Lauder Companies’ “Chief Teaching Officer,” reflects on his childhood growing up in the struggles of the Great Depression, the vibrant decades of the post-World War II boom and his work growing the company into the global beauty powerhouse it is today. Mr. Lauder pays loving tribute to his mother Estée Lauder, the company’s eponymous founder, and The Estée Lauder Companies’ employees—both past and present—while sharing inside stories about the company, including tales of cutthroat rivalry with Charles Revson of Revlon and others. The book offers keen insights on honing ambition, leveraging success, learning from mistakes and growing an international company in an age of economic turbulence, uncertainty and fierce competition.

Leonard and Evelyn Lauder on their wedding day in 1959. (Courtesy of Leonard Lauder/Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
An image from Lauder’s time in the U.S. Navy. (Courtesy of Leonard Lauder/Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Lauder with his wife and sons at Hotel Sacher in Vienna, Austria, 1984. (Courtesy of Leonard Lauder/Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Lauder at an Estée Lauder Companies employee event at Vassar College, circa 1995. (Courtesy of Leonard Lauder/Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
William P. Lauder, Leonard A. Lauder and Fabrizio Freda at Brandenburg Gate in 2011. (Courtesy of Leonard Lauder/Harper Business, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)