The ‘Journal’ Blows the Lauder Clan's Mild Awkwardness Wide Open

Lauder Family
Clockwise from top left, Aerin, Ronald, William, and Leonard Lauder. Photo: Getty Images

Today, The Wall Street Journal digs into the dirt surrounding the Lauder family, one of New York's most influential business and social clans. Okay, so they don't get into that much dirt, but, for the Journal, it feels positively juicy. According to the blaring headline, tensions are "Roiling" the Lauder dynasty! See, the Estée Lauder Companies are going to have a permanent non-Lauder CEO for the first time ever this year. And even though we've known that for months, Rupert Murdoch the Journal editors felt that readers deserved a look into the personal lives of Estée's heirs. What do we learn? Well…

• Former CEO and current chairman Leonard Lauder hasn't done the best job of ceding power to his son, William, who is the current CEO (he has a bigger office! And he writes notes!).
• Leonard's brother, Ronald, has borrowed a lot against his company's shares and recently unloaded $100 million of them (but he's still confident in the company!).
• Ronald loves art!

• In July 2007, Ronald and Leonard, both board members, were divided over whether to buy a big European cosmetics company. The Journal described it thusly: "Simmering tensions boiled over"!
• Around then, "Page Six" revealed that William had a child outside of his marriage! Which we already knew. Because it was in "Page Six."
• Aerin Lauder is a glamorous socialite!
• William eventually decided that it might be best for someone outside the family to head up the day-to-day business of the company for a breath of fresh air!
• Ronald maybe doesn't want his daughter, Jane, to take over the company one day!

The best part of the article is its category on the Website, Family Matters. Clearly, it's begun to matter more to the Journal, if they're running a tawdry-sounding article on A1 that's full of information we already knew.

Tensions Roil Estée Lauder Dynasty [WSJ]