Avon Taps Nilesh Patel, Former Heinz Exec

He joins as senior vice president and president of the Asia-Pacific region to revive its business there.

Avon Products Inc. has recruited former Heinz Co. executive Nilesh Patel to revive its Asia-Pacific business.
Patel will join Avon on Feb. 3 as senior vice president and president of the Asia-Pacific region, reporting to chief executive officer Sheri McCoy.

The appointment comes as Avon’s troubles in Asia-Pacific have intensified over the last several quarters. In the third quarter ended Sept. 30, the company’s total revenues in Asia-Pacific declined 22 percent to $167.4 million, or 19 percent in constant currency. Avon also is still dealing with the impact from its ongoing bribery probe in China, which began in June 2008. During the company’s third-quarter earnings results, the company disclosed that a potential settlement of the ongoing Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation, related to bribery allegations, could cost significantly more than Avon’s earlier offer to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission of $12 million, which was rejected in June.

Avon said that Patel’s responsibilities will include “stabilizing the market, and strengthening and growing the Avon business throughout the region.”

McCoy said, “During his successful career, Nilesh has a strong track record of strategic and operational excellence, which will be critical as we work to rebuild our Asia-Pacific business. He knows how to build a brand and bring together a strong team to drive results. Nilesh’s experience, expertise and insights are critical assets as we work to strengthen our position in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.”

He joins Avon following 26 years at Heinz, where he most recently was president, director and regional ceo of the Heinz ASEAN Region, where he oversaw business in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand. Previously, he served as managing director and chairman of Heinz India, and he has held various roles across supply chain and marketing functions.