Accusations flew. Wall Street pointed fingers. Board members grumbled. And revolving doors spun. It was a tumultuous year for a handful of major beauty firms.
The excitement started early in 2012 when Avon Products Inc. began searching for a new chief executive officer to replace Andrea Jung after a series of executional missteps and disappointing earnings. Jung, who had served as the very visible face of the company to both Wall Street and the firm’s 6,000,000 direct-sales representatives for 12 years, faced an unrelenting onslaught of criticism for Avon’s mounting troubles. They included an ongoing investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission tied to allegations that the company bribed government officials in China, and possibly in other countries. Sheri McCoy took over as Avon’s ceo in April from Johnson & Johnson, with Jung moving into the role of executive chairman. But not before Coty Inc. came calling with a bold bid to acquire the much larger company. Avon rebuffed the offer, prompting Coty to go down the path toward an initial public offering.
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