Now here's a weird one.
Estée Lauder has named Fabrizio Freda the beauty company's new chief operating officer, per a report from today's WWD. While European surnames and beauty products do seem to have a natural affinity, the surprise comes from Freda's bio. He was previously president of Procter & Gamble’s Global Snacks division. Huh?
The move marks a pretty big change for Lauder, seeing as how the firm hasn't looked outside its interior world of prestige beauty before. But, per CEO William Lauder's statements in WWD today (subscription required), the appointment is expected to freshen up the beauty marks' approach.
According to the story, Lauder said that Freda’s background at P&G has given him the benefit of a more disciplined, brand-building approach that should mesh well with Lauder's more emotion-driven branding strategy. Freda's first steps will be overseeing operational functions, research & development, and well as packaging design.
The appointment is an interesting proposition, but I just have to wonder how selling beauty products, particularly the upscale ones churned out by Estée, is like selling snack foods. There are things I want in eyeliner that I don't care about when you're pitching me chips. I'm just sayin'.
It also seems like these weird pairings are happening more and more these days. Remember when Gap announced back in July that it hired Glenn Murphy, formerly the CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart, as its chairman and CEO?
In other news, a second WWD report just came out stating that Leonard Lauder, William’s father, will be stepping down as chairman of the company, after serving in that capacity for 12 years. He'll be "chairman emeritus," whatever that means. I'm going with: "gone but not forgotten."