Leonard A. Lauder Honored With Retail Excellence Award

A who’s who of luminaries from the retail, fashion and finance sectors turned out on Monday night to honor Leonard A. Lauder with the Retail Excellence Award cohosted by the Baker Retailing Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and the Retail Leaders Circle.

Lauder, who announced earlier this year he’ll step down from the board of directors of the Estée Lauder Cos. when his current term expires in November, was feted by designer Tory Burch, Neiman Marcus CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck, Saks CEO Marc Metrick and Lauder’s son, William P. Lauder and niece Jane Lauder, among many others, with introductory honors handled by Pfizer’s chief corporate affairs officer Sally Susman and MidOcean Partners chairman Matt Rubel.

“Leonard has been a true beacon and force in building a vibrant and special global beauty company with his family and team,” said Rubel. “Yet he did so much more in creating a culture of learning, love, courage, personal accountability, humanity and appreciation.”

Rubel recounted traveling with Lauder, and noted that no matter how early he arose, Leonard Lauder would already be dressed and in the lobby, ready to go, before anyone else was down. “He was either meeting with a local retailer, supplier or Lauder leader. To Leonard, no trip was complete without spending time and building relationships and elevating others,” said Rubel. “Relationships are the foundation of what has made the Estée Lauder Companies vibrant now in its third generation of family leadership.”

Susman experienced firsthand the power of Lauder’s relationship building during her time at the company as head of corporate communications. One key lesson: go the extra mile, which for Lauder, “isn’t just a figure of speech,” said Susman, recounting one evening when Lauder insisted on giving her a ride home despite the fact that she lived all the way downtown and they were just six blocks north from his apartment. “The man went far out of his way, as he always does, showing his incredible concern for others,” she said.

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