After more than 20 years with The Estée Lauder Companies, Jennifer Balbier, Senior Vice President, Global Product Development, has retired effective June 30, 2020.
Jennifer is considered a pioneer in the prestige beauty industry. She joined Lauder in 1998 and was part of the original team at M.A.C, playing an integral role in the brand’s rise to cult status. The top M.A.C products she developed have all risen to icon status, including Studio Fix Fluid Foundation, Retro Matte Lipstick, Mineralize SkinFinish and Powder Kiss.
In addition to M.A.C, she also led global product development for Lauder’s other artistry brands, including Bobbi Brown, Smashbox Cosmetics and Too Faced. “Her expertise in consumer trends, innate commercial sensitivity, creativity and passion for beauty has led to the development of some of the company’s most innovative and iconic products, taking artistry brands to new levels of success throughout the course of her career,” the company said in a statement.
In 2002, Jennifer was presented with a Cosmetic Executive Women [CEW] Achiever Award, which honors the most accomplished women in beauty. She served on the board of CEW for eight years and was one of the founders of the CEW Young Executives Committee. Jennifer also served on the Board of Directors of the M.A.C AIDS Fund.
“It has been an amazing journey and I figured at this point it was time to move on,” Jennifer said. “Even though I worked for the product development group and R&D, I am totally attached to John Demsey. I love working with him,” she said, adding that both John and longtime M.A.C creative director, James Gager, were both “wonderful mentors, colleagues and friends.”
One of her biggest lessons from John included how to keep things simple.
“He likes to land that plane. Because if you dwell on something for too long in a fast-paced industry you would miss the whole trend,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer recalled being hired by both John and Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Cos., in 1998 after a breakfast at Mr. Lauder’s house.
She grew close many people during her 22-year career at the company.
“It’s important to have a mentor growing your career with you. Mine was the legendary Jeanette Wagner. And my two stars I’ve mentored are Isabelle Rovner, Vice President, Product Development, Tom Ford Beauty; and Gabrielle Nevin, Vice President, Product Development, Bobbi Brown.”