The Retail Excellence Award, presented annually by the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Retail Leaders Circle, is a distinguished recognition reserved for individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievements within the retail sector.

In 2022, Tory Burch received this prestigious honor, in recognition of her industry leadership and support of women entrepreneurs, setting a benchmark for innovation and dedication.

This year, we are delighted to announce that Leonard A. Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies, will receive the Retail Excellence Award for his outstanding contributions to the retail and beauty sectors, along with his philanthropic endeavors in academia, medicine, and art.


Leonard A. Lauder is a prominent figure in both the business and philanthropic communities. With a career spanning three decades at the helm of his family’s publicly traded cosmetics giant, The Estée Lauder Companies, and a proud graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Mr. Lauder’s contributions to the industry are truly unparalleled.


In 1958, he embarked on his journey within his mother’s esteemed company, where he not only played a pivotal role but also initiated the establishment of the company’s first R&D laboratory. Mr. Lauder’s legacy extends beyond the boardroom, as he spearheaded strategic acquisitions that included renowned brands like MAC, Bobbi Brown, and Aveda during the mid-1990s. While his tenure as CEO concluded in 1999, he continues to hold the esteemed position of Chairman Emeritus.

Mr. Lauder’s unwavering commitment to philanthropy continues to leave a lasting impact. He co-founded the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, providing funding for clinical trials on a global scale. Notably, his continued philanthropic contributions include a substantial gift to New York’s Whitney Museum, and he has also pledged his renowned collection of Cubist art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Mr. Lauder is deeply engaged in education. He holds various positions, including Emeritus Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and founding member of the Board of Governors of its Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies. His philanthropic contributions to Penn have transformed campus life as well as the research and teaching missions for faculty and students.

Mr. Lauder was married to Evelyn H. Lauder until her passing in 2011 and has two sons, William and Gary, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild. On January 1, 2015, he married Judy Glickman Lauder, a renowned philanthropist and photographer.