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!
Some masterpieces were missing from the record-setting Christie's Impressionist auction last night, but a slew of boldfaced names showed up to bid, undaunted.
The night ended with $491 million in sales, making it the biggest art auction ever, and paddles were waving right out of the gate. Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Lauria outbid several opponents for lot No. 5, a Piet Mondrian study for "Broadway Boogie Woogie" that went for $3.3 million. Michael Steinhardt, seated with his wife, Judy, outbid powerhouse art dealer Jeffrey Deitch for another Mondrian study just a minute later, paying $2.1 million. And that was just the beginning.