Webster will report jointly to William P. Lauder, executive chairman, and Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer. She will also join The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.’s Executive Leadership Team.
Webster will succeed Alexandra (Alex) Trower as head of Global Communications and Maria Cristina (MC) González Noguera as head of Global Public Affairs. Her appointment follows the news that Trower has made the decision to retire in June after an esteemed career at the company, and that Noguera was recently tapped for the role of EVP and chief communications and public affairs officer at Popular Inc.
“Our world-class Global Communications and Public Affairs teams have consistently advanced ahead of the curve against the backdrop of an increasingly complex and rapidly-changing global landscape,” said Freda. “Meridith’s appointment will continue to enable and enhance our delivery of thoughtful, effective communications to our valued global stakeholders as she leads these talented teams to new heights.”
“Meridith’s deep public and private sector experience, coupled with her core values and leadership style, make her uniquely suited to step into this role now,” Lauder commented. “I am so proud of the incredible work of our Global Communications and Public Affairs teams and I know they will be in great hands under Meridith’s leadership as she joins our ELC family.”
In this new role, Webster will lead ELC’s global communications and public affairs strategic agendas to advance and protect its business interests and corporate reputation globally, and strengthen relationships to drive value for key stakeholders. She will serve as a strategic advisor to the ELC’s Executive Leadership Team, the Board of Directors and the Lauder Family on a variety of critical topics.
Webster will oversee ELC’s Global Communications and Public Affairs teams, elevating the impact of these functions across the business. She will lead the strategy and delivery of holistic, integrated global communications to advance ELC’s corporate reputation and winning business narrative, while building brand equity and strengthening the platforms that resonate with key audiences internally and externally. She will also lead the global public affairs and stakeholder engagement strategy to further advance ELC’s business goals, build reputation capital and proactively mitigate issues.
Webster’s deep government experience includes tenures under multiple U.S. presidential administrations. She joins ELC from the Biden White House, where she served as special assistant to the President and chief of staff to the Domestic Policy Council. At the Obama White House, she served as senior advisor to two White House chiefs of staff, Rahm Emanuel and Pete Rouse. She also served as deputy chief of staff to Susan Rice, then the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Webster started her career working at the Clinton White House and the U.S. State Department before earning her J.D. Degree at Georgetown University Law Center.
Prior to serving in the Biden Administration, she served as Vox Media’s first-ever chief communications officer, overseeing strategic and crisis communications and media relations across a growing modern media company, including editorial networks and advertising, studios, and podcasting. She also previously led the Public Affairs practice at Emerson Collective and served as global head of public affairs at Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies where she managed the expansion of the business and established public affairs and communications functions in Washington, New York and globally.
“I am thrilled to be joining The Estée Lauder Companies,” Webster remarked. “It is an honor to step into this new role and I am excited to continue building on the successes of these teams in a rapidly-evolving space. I look forward to partnering with Fabrizio, William and the entire Executive Leadership Team to drive the overall success and continued growth of ELC.”