Estée Lauder Companies plans to force Deciem founder and CEO out

The Estée Lauder Companies is currently seeking legal action to oust cult skin care founder Brandon Truaxe

Deciem interior, Melbourne

Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) is seeking to remove Deciem founder and CEO Brandon Truaxe from the brand’s helm.

The legal move comes after months of volatile social media posts and business decisions, including the abrupt closure of operations earlier this week.

A minority shareholder in the Canada-based company, ELC has issued a legal proceeding to remove Truaxe and to appoint co-CEO Nicola Kilner as the sole interim leader.

The civil action could also bar Truaxe from the board of directors and prohibit him from issuing statements via Deciem’s social media accounts.

Kilner was previously fired from Deciem in February, along with the company’s CFO, but was re-hired in July.

ELC told Cosmetics Business: “We can confirm that we have commenced legal action in this matter.

“We cannot comment further on this pending litigation at this time.”

Why did Deciem close its stores?

On Monday, Truaxe announced via the company’s social media account, that it was the final post from the brand “until further notice” and that Deciem would close all operations for “about two months”.

He claimed “almost everyone at Deciem has been involved in a major criminal activity” including “financial crimes” and “much other”.

Truaxe did not provide further details.

Truaxe referred to himself as a “soldier” and claimed he has been mocked, as well as being accused of being a “porn actor” and a “drug dealer”.

A beauty smash hit

Founded in 2013 Deciem – the self proclaimed abnormal beauty company – is best known for its cult brand The Ordinary and has more than two dozen stores worldwide.

The Ordinary has been celebrated among consumers for offering high-performance products at affordable prices.

In July 2017, ELC acquired a minority stake in Deciem. Commenting at time on the original deal in an open letter to consumers, Truaxe explained: "While I do sincerely believe that ELC has embraced everything about us, the facts are nonetheless very clear: they have a minority shareholding position."

He added: "They do not control our decisions or dictate our direction; and I continue to remain CEO (and there is documentation in place to make it nearly impossible to fire me)."

Truaxe’s social media behaviour has prompted fans of the brand to debate over his mental health, substance addiction, or just practices an unconventional marketing tactic.

Meanwhile, others have celebrated Truaxe for his transparency and worry about the brand’s future.

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