Laura J. Alber joined Williams-Sonoma in 1995 as a buyer in the Pottery Barn subsidiary brand and later rose to President of that division, serving in that capacity from 2002 to 2006. Alber moved to the newly created role of President of Williams-Sonoma in 2006 where she continued her lead of Pottery Barn and the company's global supply chain, logistics, and Middle East expansion.
In 2010, she was elected to the company's board and named as CEO, replacing retiring W. Howard Lester. At that time, she was the 10th highest paid woman in U.S. business, with an estimated compensation of $13,555,412. In 2011, the San Francisco Business Times named her one of the most influential women in San Francisco.
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a high-end American consumer retail company that sells kitchenwares, furniture and linens, as well as other housewares and home furnishings, along with a variety of specialty foods, soaps and lotions. Its international corporate headquarters are in San Francisco, California, United States.