Spotlight on Avon’s McCoy at CAGNY conference

NEW YORK, Mon, Feb. 18, 2013 — Investors bought everything Avon Products Inc. CEO Sheri McCoy was selling last week, lifting shares 23 percent on the back of solid results and a confidence the new CEO has a turnaround plan.

That makes the spotlight even brighter on McCoy when she takes center stage on Thursday at an important industry analyst conference and details that turnaround. Among her biggest challenges: fix the company’s technology problems, and help the sales representatives generate more cash.

“She has to start speaking with specificity,” said Kathy Gersch, a co-founder of Kotter International, which helps companies implement strategies and whose clients include Coty Inc., a smaller rival that tried to buy Avon last year.

“It’s not just about fixing the company anymore. It’s about moving the company into the future.”

So far, McCoy and finance chief Kimberly Ross, have taken early steps to cut costs, stanch an exodus of representatives in top markets like Brazil and Russia, and start talks with U.S. officials to settle a costly overseas bribery probe.

Wall Street gives McCoy and Ross kudos for being frank about the depth of Avon’s problems and for taking tough steps like cutting 1,500 jobs in December as part of plan to save $400 million in costs a year by 2015; and exiting Vietnam and South Korea where it is too far behind rivals.

The quarterly performance turned in on Tuesday showed some of that progress, cheering investors who had become disappointed by the broken promises in the later years of the tenure of Andrea Jung, McCoy’s predecessor.

Avon names Johnson & Johnson’s Sherilyn McCoy as CEO

NEW YORK, Mon Apr 9, 2012 – Avon Products Inc. said it named Johnson & Johnson executive Sherilyn McCoy as its chief executive officer, effective April 23.

The world’s largest direct seller of cosmetics, which rejected a takeover bid from fragrance company Coty Inc. last week, had announced in December that it would look outside for a new CEO and that current Chairman and CEO Andrea Jung would become executive chairman.

McCoy, 53, was with the pharmaceutical company for three decades, and most recently served as vice chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical, consumer, corporate office of science and technology, and information technology divisions.

McCoy was promoted to the post of vice chairman at J&J in December 2010, setting her up as a possible successor to CEO William Weldon. But in February, J&J announced that Alex Gorsky, who was named vice chairman at the same time as McCoy, would be the company’s CEO, effective April 26.

McCoy joined J&J in 1982 as a scientist in the company’s personal products unit. She had been in charge of J&J’s pharmaceutical division since 2009 and has held senior management roles in the company’s medical device business.

Since January 2011, McCoy also ran J&J’s consumer products business, which had been besieged by a series of recalls of an array of brands, including Tylenol.

In a statement, Weldon said McCoy “was instrumental in helping to bring stronger strategic focus to our pharmaceutical business as it builds a robust pipeline and launches important new medicines; and to our consumer business as it leverages the success of its iconic brands and worked to resolve some recent challenges.”