The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) has named Gibu Thomas as ELC Online President, effective 16 November. He replaces Dennis McEniry, who will retire at the end of 2020 after nearly 20 years with the company.
Thomas will report directly to The Estée Lauder Companies President and Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Freda and work closely with McEniry through the transitional period.
McEniry joined the company in 2001 as Technology Vice President. During this time, he helped spearhead the company’s technology platform, which was still in its early days, to become a seamless omnichannel experience. McEniry was named the first-ever President of ELC Online in 2003.
An early adopter of mobile technology, McEniry helped develop ELC Online’s presence in leading global ecommerce and mobile-commerce platforms. During his tenure as President, he helped expand ELC Online from just four US-based websites to a global diversified presence which covers more than 50 countries, 30 brand sites, 80 brand boutiques and over 1,700 retailer ecommerce platforms.
McEniry helped drive innovative high-touch luxury consumer experiences and leverage best-in-class creative technologies for ELC Online. He was instrumental in leading omnichannel partnerships across the organisation and integrating online and offline functionality.
As online surged throughout the COVID-19 crisis, McEniry accelerated investments across the company’s brand sites, reaching new consumers and increasing conversion rates. Through McEniry’s efforts, ELC Online achieved +100% growth during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.
McEniry is also a strong supporter of inclusion, diversity and women in tech. Over the years, he has partnered with organisations such as Girls Who Code, which aims to close the gender gap in the tech industry.
“Dennis has been a truly innovative and visionary digital leader,” commented Freda. “As the inaugural President of ELC Online, he has overseen the formation and incredible expansion of this division. Thanks to him and his team, ELC Online remains vital to our strong and sustainable growth, and is a leading, brand-building platform that enables us to deliver high-quality products and experiences to millions of consumers worldwide.
“Omnichannel and online are more important and quickly-evolving than ever before,” Freda added. “We are poised for continued success in these areas thanks to Dennis’ work. His positive energy, dynamic leadership style and unique ability to marry the art and science of online will certainly be missed.”
The Estée Lauder Companies Executive Chairman William P. Lauder said, “It has been a pleasure to partner closely with Dennis over the years. When Online was still a new and relatively unfamiliar channel to many, Dennis helped to ensure that the company was an early adopter of the ecommerce marketplace. Since then, he and his team have done a terrific job of always evolving ELC Online ahead of digital and technology trends. In addition to being a well-respected and strategic leader, Dennis is also a truly wonderful colleague and friend, and I wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.”
“I am deeply proud of all that my team and I have accomplished,” added McEniry. “While the global digital and technology landscape has evolved significantly, ELC Online has always advanced ahead of the curve, successfully anticipating trends and capturing the biggest, most promising opportunities for sustainable growth. At the same time, we’ve stayed true to our core mission of providing consumers with high-quality luxury products and experiences online, reaching millions around the globe. While the decision to retire is of course bittersweet, I know that the incredible ELC Online team — with Gibu’s deep expertise and natural leadership abilities at the helm — is poised to continue to drive tremendous growth.”
Gibu Thomas joins The Estée Lauder Companies from PepsiCo, where he worked as Senior Vice President and Global Head of E-Commerce for five years. In this role, he was responsible for PepsiCo’s global ecommerce business, which he helped build from the ground-up. Prior to this, he was also the Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital at Walmart Inc. Thomas started his career as a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, where he built many innovative startup companies.
Thomas will take his forward-thinking, strategic digital approach to continue ELC Online’s growth after McEniry’s departure. He will also work closely with Global Brand Presidents to drive an interconnected omnichannel strategy, supporting ELC Online’s High-Touch consumer experience strategy. He will also work closely with Executive Vice President Enterprise Marketing and Chief Data Officer Jane Lauder to integrate the company’s analytical capabilities and leverage data and insights to drive brand-building innovation.
Commenting on Thomas’ appointment, Freda said: “I am thrilled to welcome Gibu to The Estée Lauder Companies as the new President of ELC Online. He is a highly talented and respected digital expert with a proven record of success in ecommerce, technology infrastructure, digital media, mobile and omnichannel.
“Throughout his exemplary career, which includes leading digital enterprises to scale at large global businesses as well as extensive entrepreneurial experience in Silicon Valley startups, he has driven meaningful, transformative growth for global brands with speed and agility. His deep understanding of consumer behaviour, and ability to anticipate trends and build dynamic digital experiences, make him ideally suited to this role.”
“I am thrilled to be joining The Estée Lauder Companies,” commented Thomas. “Dennis has done a truly incredible job of leading ELC Online, and of developing a uniquely talented and dynamic team. It’s an honour to step into this leadership role, and I am eager to continue to build on the success and growth of this quickly-evolving area of the business. I am also looking forward to partnering with Fabrizio and the entire Executive Leadership Team to contribute to the overall success and continued growth of ELC.”