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Lauder & Order

Fabrizio Freda
Freda was once responsible for the company’s most stellar performance. The question is whether he is also the right person now to guide the The Estée Lauder Companies through this new, post-pandemic era. Photo: WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images
Rachel Strugatz
May 8, 2024

The Estée Lauder Companies reported good-not-great earnings last week, and you know what that means––more musings about the fate of longtime C.E.O. Fabrizio Freda, succession rumors, and efforts to decipher that “inflection point” spin. To be clear: Freda is not getting fired, nor is he leaving anytime soon. “His job is not on the line,” a person close to the matter said. On the contrary, Freda is determined to complete the turnaround that has begun on his watch, and he said as much to Bloomberg in February.

After all, Freda was once responsible for the company’s most stellar performance; under his leadership, revenue doubled to $15 billion between 2009 and 2019, before the pandemic—and a host of other unfavorable macro-economic factors, including an inability to evolve with the times—caused revenue to drop. The question, of course, is whether Freda is also the right person now to guide the company through this new, post-pandemic era. Some high-level employees are surprised that a rash of down quarters hasn’t resulted in some form of executive shake-up. “It appears that the family and board are still supporting Fabrizio,” said a source with ties to the Lauder family.