Estée Lauder completes Tom Ford acquisition; new leadership team

By Luke Barras-hill |

R-L: Peter Hawkings, Creative Director, Tom Ford; and Guillaume Jesel, President and CEO, Tom Ford.

The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) now owns the Tom Ford brand and all its intellectual property after completing an acquisition that values the total enterprise at $2.8 billion.

In a statement, ELC confirms it paid approximately $2.25 billion for Tom Ford, funded through a combination of cash, proceeds from the issuance of commercial paper and $250 million from eyewear licensee Marcolin.

The sellers will receive an added aggregate amount of $300m in deferred payments from ELC due at the beginning of July 2025.

The remainder of the enterprise valuation is reflected in the purchase of Tom Ford Fashion by Zegna Group.

‘Transformational deal’

Guillaume Jesel, President and CEO, Tom Ford.

ELC licenses the Tom Ford trademark to Zegna Group (fashion & accessories) and Marcolin Group (eyewear).

“ELC’s stewardship and its licenses with Ermenegildo Zegna N.V. (NYSE: ZGN) (‘Zegna Group’) and Marcolin Group provide continuity and allow for the further evolution of the Tom Ford brand as one of the pre-eminent global luxury brands of the twenty-first century,” read an ELC statement.

In a dual announcement twinning with the completion of the transaction completion, ELC confirms Guillaume Jesel as President and CEO, Tom Ford, with Peter Hawkings named Creative Director, Tom Ford.

The appointments are effective when the acquisition closes.

Jesel brings nearly a decade of successful brand leadership of Tom Ford Beauty to his new executive leadership position.

As President and CEO of Tom Ford, Jesel will be responsible for all verticals and setting ‘a holistic luxury strategy’ for the brand.

He will report to ELC executive leaders Jane Hertzmark Hudis, Executive Group President and Tracey T. Travis, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

His stewardship of Tom Ford Beauty accelerated the brand’s net sales, strategic expansion and innovation while improving its positioning in the global prestige and fragrances markets to establish it as a global powerhouse in luxury beauty.

“Guillaume has been instrumental in shaping the luxury beauty sector of our business,” said Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer, ELC. “His ability to articulate the Tom Ford brand has resulted in Tom Ford Beauty achieving remarkable global success, making him ideally suited to lead the Tom Ford brand into its exciting future.”

Meanwhile, Hawkings has been working alongside Tom Ford for nearly twenty-five years, most recently as Senior Vice President of Tom Ford Menswear.

Peter Hawkings, Creative Director, Tom Ford. Source: ELC/Ferry van der Nat.

In his new role as Creative Director, he will succeed Tom Ford with regards to his responsibilities overseeing fashion, including womenswear, menswear and accessory categories and assuming the role of lead designer for the fashion segment and fashion shows.

He will be charged with maintaining the brand’s vision through consistency of creative direction and decision making at the same time as ushering in the next chapter of growth. He will report directly to Jesel with a matrix report to the CEO of Tom Ford Fashion.

Hawkings began his career in 1998 at Gucci as a menswear design assistant working alongside Tom Ford, during which time Hawkings worked his way up to become senior men’s designer at the company.

He left in 2006 to join the Tom Ford brand and was tasked with steering the design and production of all categories of Tom Ford menswear including tailoring, sportswear, leather goods, and accessories.

“Since the creation of Tom Ford menswear, Peter has been instrumental in the success of the brand,” commented Tom Ford. “He is an incredibly talented leader with tremendous industry experience, and his appointment gives me confidence that my commitment to creating fashion products with the highest level of design and quality will continue.”

Jesel added: “Peter is one of the world’s most accomplished menswear designers. His design experience working under Tom Ford is unparalleled and his commitment to quality is relentless. There is no one more perfectly suited than Peter to carry the founder’s legendary creative vision into the future.”

Tom Ford and Domenico De Sole will continue to serve as brand advisors through the end of calendar 2023.

Tom Ford Fashion to announce new CEO

Meanwhile, Zegna Group has appointed a CEO of Tom Ford Fashion. They are tasked with guiding the end-to-end Tom Ford Fashion business from collection development, merchandising and production to retail and wholesale distribution.

The appointment is expected to be announced in July ahead of the CEO commencing their role in the third quarter of 2023.

Ermenegildo ‘Gildo’ Zegna, CEO of Ermenegildo Zegna Group, said: “We are delighted to appoint a strong leader for Tom Ford Fashion and look forward to leveraging the leader’s luxury business acumen and international experience to further grow the Tom Ford Fashion business globally.

“I am thrilled about the opportunities that this transaction brings to all of us as we continue the journey started by Tom and Domenico whom we congratulate for their remarkable achievements.”

Commenting on the ‘transformational deal’, Tom Ford added: “I could not be happier with the acquisition of the Tom Ford brand by The Estée Lauder Companies. The team there has been a great partner and Guillaume is an exceptional leader, with not only a strong business understanding of beauty, but a great understanding of fashion as well. I am also pleased that the Zegna Group will continue to manufacture and distribute Tom Ford fashion and accessories, and operate retail for Tom Ford Fashion.

“I have worked closely with Zegna for more than 30 years, first at Gucci, then at Yves Saint Laurent. When contemplating the creation of the Tom Ford brand there was simply no other partner that we would have turned to, to produce high quality fashion products and a flawless retail experience.

“Marcolin has been an excellent partner in producing and distributing TF eyewear since the inception of the brand and I have enjoyed close collaboration with Maurizio Marcolin and his talented team for many years now.

“These companies, under the brand stewardship of The Estée Lauder Companies, provide me with confidence that the Tom Ford brand will continue to be something that I will be proud of for many years to come.”

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