Sternlicht, 43, is currently the chairman and chief executive officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, one of the world's largest hotel and leisure companies with more than 750 properties in over 80 countries. Sternlicht formed the company in 1995.
"We're very pleased to announce that Barry Sternlicht is joining our Board of Directors," said Leonard Lauder, chairman of the board of The Estée Lauder Companies.
"He is a global business leader whose acumen and knowledge of the luxury hotel and travel business, along with creating and building a portfolio of successful, highly respected brands, will be an asset to the Company and its stockholders."
Sternlicht is filling the vacancy on the board created when Fred Langhammer retired as president and CEO of The Estee Lauder Companies on 30 June 2004. Sternlicht will be a member of the audit committee.
This is the latest change of personnel witin the company. last month the grandson of company founder William Lauder, assumed the role of chief executive officer.
He is believed to be the driving force behind the company's move into mid-range mass market brands.
Estee Lauder's new chief executive officer is copying the format already made so successful by fashion designers, expanding into diffusion labels to capture more of the market share.
However, the company is seeking to ensure that the new products will not dilute the Estee Lauder brand, which has traditionally occupied the prestige end of the market, as the products will be launched by the company's BeautyBank division.
Estee Lauder has reportedly allocated around US$15 million to BeautyBank to develop new brands and had announced a deal with mid-market Kohl's department stores, which will stock the BeautyBank products from October this year.