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Name: Jean-Yves Minet
Title: Senior Vice President, General Manager Estée Lauder International
Organisation: The Estée Lauder Companies
Jean-Yves brings a valuable combination of strategic and operational brand leadership expertise with experience at global, regional, and local levels. Jean-Yves Minet is currently the Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Estée Lauder brand, International at The Estée Lauder Companies.
In his role, Jean-Yves is responsible for driving continued brand development, sales optimization, global profitability, and synergy across markets worldwide. Working closely with the regional and affiliate teams, Jean-Yves champions locally-relevant strategies and programs that elevate brand equity and drive further market share gains. Prior to this, Jean-Yves held the position of Senior Vice President, General Manager Travel Retail Worldwide.
Under his leadership, the team strengthened the #1 global position for Estée Lauder in Travel Retail, outpacing growth of competition. Jean-Yves also led a cross-functional team to design the Duty Free Social Circle, a Travel Retail omni-channel immersive experience, which exceeded industry benchmarks in reach and engagement. In addition, he led a first-to-market partnership with Marriott Hotel group in Hainan driving sales and new consumer recruitment that was recognized as “one of the best campaigns to date” by leading industry publication The Moodie Report. He is also a champion for Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (I, D & E) and has been a Strategic Advisor for the founding I, D & E Travel Retail team.
Jean-Yves joined the Estée Lauder Companies in 2011 as Executive Director, Global Market Development, Estée Lauder, where he worked collaboratively with the Global, Regional and Affiliate teams to define new growth strategies to build market share. In 2013 he took an assignment in Paris as Regional Business Development Director, Estée Lauder, EMEA, before assuming the role of Regional Brand Director, Emerging Markets, EMEA. Jean-Yves holds an MBA from The Harvard Business School and a Business degree from leading French Business school ESSEC. Prior to joining the Estée Lauder Companies, Jean-Yves worked across Omnicom Group, L’Oréal, and McKinsey.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Being an authentic leader, staying true to myself and my values. To me, authentic leadership is about putting people first, especially in a context that challenges your core values. It requires courage and commitment. Practicing authentic leadership is important because it maximizes a leader’s influence, thus making them more effective. People are more likely to buy into someone’s vision and follow them, when leaders are perceived as real and relatable. However, when people feel leaders are inauthentic and phony, they become suspicious, skeptical, and doubtful. Being an authentic leader is being able to create a positive environment for people, no matter what challenges are being faced.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I’m not exactly sure when I became a leader, but what I know is that you don’t need to manage people to be a leader. For me, leadership is a quality trait that guides how you do things in life. It’s about drive, integrity, empathy, curiosity, courage and commitment. In fact, there are managers who are not great leaders, and also people who don’t manage teams but are charismatic leaders.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I have a 2-year old daughter, a very demanding job, and multiple passions. So my days are quite packed. Also, I travel internationally extensively. So I would not say I have a typical day. When I am not traveling, i usually take care of my daughter’s morning routine, before heading to the office at 7am. In meetings with my teams from around the world until 5pm, then back at home to put my daughter to bed, then either sport or more work.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
The Covid pandemic taught me a lot of leadership lessons, as I had to adapt to a very stressful environment for my teams and colleagues, lead from the distance, pivot to new business models very quickly, while staying true to my values. I think the term « leading with empathy » really took its full meaning for me during the past 3 years.
Leading with empathy is about taking a genuine interest in the people around you – what makes them tick, what inspires them and the way they feel. At the core of empathetic leadership is the understanding that people are the way they are, and the desire to help them become great leaders who are able to connect with many types of people and adapt their style depending on who they are interacting with.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
« The Company I keep: My life in beauty » This is a memoir of leadership lessons from M. Leonard Lauder, son of Ms. Estée Lauder. I like to call Mister Lauder the « Gandhi of Beauty ». He is a legend in the beauty industry and a multi-faceted leader.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Do what you are passionate about. Where there is passion, there is talent. Define success for yourself, otherwise you will never reach happiness.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
The story goes back to when I was promoted to Marketing Group Manager at L’Oreal, managing a team of 3 people. My boss had asked me to terminate one team member who was not performing as a Marketing Product Manager. I took the time to talk to him, understand his motivation, ambition and goals, to realize that he had taken this Marketing job as it was « prestigious » but not really for the love of Marketing. Despite the fact that my manager wanted to lay him off, I took the time to understand his strengths and areas of development, we put a plan together with clear goals and a training program to support his growth. In 6 months, his performance was back to average and in 1.5 year he finally got promoted to education, a different area of the business much more in line with his long term professional aspiration.
I learned that leadership is about taking time to understand the problem versus being obsessed about solving the issue at hand.