May 16 2022  |  People

Estée Lauder names Karen Housman in senior Asia role

By GTR Magazine Staff

Karen Housman will be appointed Senior Vice President/General Manager, Travel Retail APAC, effective July 1

The Estée Lauder Companies has announced that Karen Housman will be appointed Senior Vice President/General Manager, Travel Retail APAC, effective July 1, 2022.

She will report directly to Javier Simon, President, Commercial, Travel Retail Worldwide, and will be based in Singapore.

In her new role, Housman will be responsible for driving growth and profitability within the travel retail business across Asia Pacific, building on Estée Lauder Companies’ track record of success with the Asian consumer and strong retailer relationships to take the travel retail business to new heights as travel returns.

She will oversee a strong portfolio of brands as well as a seasoned team to build on and capture new opportunities within the region, while delivering best-in-class consumer experiences.

Israel Assa, Global President, Travel Retail Worldwide, The Estée Lauder Companies, said: “With over 20 years’ experience in the beauty industry in both travel retail and local markets, her deep knowledge of luxury skincare and fragrance, store design, sales and marketing, along with her keen understanding of international business and of our key Asian consumers, Karen is uniquely positioned to lead travel retail’s APAC region to continued success.”

A member of Travel Retail’s Leadership Team, most recently, Housman has led the La Mer and Le Labo brands as Senior Vice President/General Manager, La Mer and Le Labo, Travel Retail Worldwide, based in New York, NY.

Since joining The Estée Lauder Companies’ travel retail division in January 2017, Housman’s brand portfolio has undergone “phenomenal acceleration and growth”, with La Mer reaching a rank of #4 in the skincare category, according to the company.

“Under Karen’s visionary leadership, La Mer has reinvented and initiated programs to leverage 360 marketing campaigns especially designed to reach the brand’s key traveling consumers, increasing consumer reach while building the brand’s equity around the world,” the company said. “A passionate innovator, Karen’s track record of best-in-class go-to-market strategy consistently raises the bar of how best to engage the consumer across in-store, online, social and digital touchpoints, and her luxury aesthetic will be highly valued as travel retail continues to innovate its high-touch consumer experiences.”

Sustainability Champion

During her tenure, Housman also spearheaded the introduction of Le Labo in several key locations in the Middle East, North America, Asia and the UK, translating the brand’s story seamlessly into a travel retail environment. Capitalizing on the rising consumer demand for luxury artisanal fragrance, Le Labo’s curated distribution strategy in travel retail has resulted in “exponential” growth, making it one of the fastest-growing brands in the company’s portfolio in travel retail.

A passionate advocate for the environment, Housman is a Sustainability Champion within travel retail, amplifying the region’s sustainability goals and raising opportunities for continued progress.

In addition, and in line with the company’s values of inclusion, diversity and equity, she is an advocate for women’s rights and sits on Vital Voices Global Partnership’s New York City Council, focused on investing in women leaders who are taking on the world’s greatest challenges – from gender-based violence to the climate crisis, economic inequities, and more.

Before joining travel retail with The Estée Lauder Companies, Housman was Vice President of Marketing at AmorePacific US, where she led marketing and communications strategies for the AmorePacific, Sulwhasoo and Laneige brands.

Before joining AmorePacific, Housman spent 16 years with Chanel in various marketing management roles both in the US and Asia, including as APAC Regional General Manager for the Fragrance & Beauty division based in Singapore.

“Karen is a highly respected professional across the beauty industry with a track record of building innovative teams who continually set the bar for excellence,” said Javier Simon, President, Commercial, Travel Retail Worldwide, The Estée Lauder Companies. “In addition, with her strong retailer relationships and deep understanding of consumer behavior, I look forward to seeing how she will steer the Travel Retail Asia Pacific region to capture the next generation of growth.”


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