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Leonard Lauder Net Worth

What is Leonard Lauder’s Net Worth?

Leonard Lauder is an American business scion, philanthropist, and art collector who has a net worth of $15 billion. Along with his brother Ronald, he is heir to the Estée Lauder Companies fortune. Leonard served as CEO of the corporation in the 1990s. As an art collector, Lauder had an extensive and prestigious collection of Cubist art that he gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013.

Early Life and Education

Leonard Lauder was born on March 19, 1933 to Joseph and Estée, who went on to found the cosmetics company Estée Lauder in 1946. He is Jewish, and has a younger brother named Ronald. For his higher education, Lauder attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and later earned his MBA from Columbia University. He subsequently served as a lieutenant in the US Navy.

Estée Lauder Companies

Lauder joined the family cosmetics company, Estée Lauder, in 1958. He continued working at the company in various capacities over the decades, and in the 1990s became CEO. Lauder was responsible for creating Estée Lauder’s first research and development laboratory, and for taking the company public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1995. He also oversaw the acquisitions of several major cosmetics brands, including Aveda, MAC Cosmetics, La Mer, and Bobbi Brown. Lauder stepped down as CEO of Estée Lauder in 1999 and subsequently became chairman emeritus of the company. With his brother Ronald, he is heir to the Estée Lauder Companies fortune. In 2001, Lauder gained notoriety for creating the “lipstick index,” an economic indicator meant to reflect increased sales of luxury items during the economic recession in the early 2000s. The concept has since been discredited.

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Art Collection

A prolific collector of fine art, Lauder amassed an extensive collection of Cubist works by such masters as Picasso, Braque, Léger, and Gris. In 2013, he promised his collection, valued at over $1 billion, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was one of the largest gifts in the history of the Met.

Lauder is also known for his large collection of postcards. In 2012, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston opened an exhibition of 700 of his postcards, which were included among the 120,000 postcards he gifted to the institution. Lauder later donated his collection of Oilette postcards to Chicago’s Newberry Library; he also funded the digitization of the cards.


Much of Lauder’s philanthropy has been focused on arts and culture. A longtime benefactor of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, he joined the institution’s acquisitions board in 1971 and became president in 1990. Lauder has donated both money and works of art to the Whitney, and stands as the museum’s most prolific fundraiser. In 2008, he donated $131 million to the Whitney, the largest donation in the museum’s history. Lauder has also sponsored various exhibitions at the Whitney through the fund he runs with his wife. Elsewhere in New York City, he has donated substantially to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Beyond arts and culture, Lauder has contributed to many social causes. He is the co-founder and chairman of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the president’s council of Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. With his wife, Lauder helped create the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In 2022, he donated $125 million to the University of Pennsylvania to establish a new tuition-free nurse practitioner program in Penn’s School of Nursing.

Personal Life

In 1959, Lauder married Austrian-American Evelyn Hausner. They had two sons named William and Gary, both of whom went on to work for the Estée Lauder Companies. The Lauders established the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Fund to support various causes. In 2011, Evelyn passed away from complications of ovarian cancer.

On New Year’s Day in 2015, Lauder married photographer Judy Glickman. Later, in 2020, he published his memoir “The Company I Keep: My Life in Beauty.”

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