After a tumultuous four months, Andrea Jung’s 12-year run as chief executive officer of Avon Products Inc. ended with a sigh.
“As I end my tenure, what a privilege it’s been to serve as Avon’s leader for the past 12 years,” Jung told the sparsely filled auditorium of shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Thursday morning. There wasn’t even a round of applause for the woman whose mere presence, in the past, was enough to rouse thousands of Avon sales representatives in a standing ovation, and whose name regularly landed on business magazines’ list of the most powerful executives in the world.
[Thursday evening, Bloomberg News reported that Richmont Holdings is preparing a bid to buy Avon.]
“We have found the right leader to take Avon into the future,” said Jung, who led the meeting and whose usual magnetic stage presence was hampered by dim lighting and a somewhat more subdued presentation. She praised McCoy for her turnaround track record, strategic and operational skills and her motivational capabilities.
Jung fielded a handful of questions from shareholders, several of which were sharp in tone. One attendee asked how many shareholders approved Avon’s executive compensation, which was up for vote at the meeting, adding, “I wasn’t one of them.” The lone Avon sales representative in attendance scolded Avon — for the second year in a row — for “an egregious lack of social networking tools,” including the ability to “like” certain Avon products on Facebook or to be able to text fellow representatives and customers. “This is what word of mouth sounds like today and our tongues are tied,” he said, noting that two of the 10 key selling tools that Avon provides its reps include carbon-paper credit card payment forms and paper brochures. Jung responded that 80 percent of reps place orders digitally, but acknowledged “there’s lots of work to do.” She said McCoy and her team will place digital opportunities at the forefront of their strategy.
“I look forward to continuing to offer you my support,” Jung told McCoy. The new ceo spoke briefly at the meeting, continuing the same themes she outlined to analysts during the company’s earnings call on Tuesday. It’s been a trying week for the company, as first-quarter profits dove 81.6 percent to $26.5 million, and Avon warned that its performance could worsen in the second quarter.
“I’m taking a fresh look at every aspect of the business,” McCoy told shareholders. “I will develop a list of five to six key priorities.” On Tuesday, McCoy said she plans to sketch out her strategy for Avon during the company’s next earnings call, which is slated for August.
“The company continues to believe strongly that its issues are fixable,” said Jung, who since December has faced intense scrutiny from Wall Street analysts and former company ceo’s, as well as an endless stream of bad press.
Coty Inc., which has made its interest in acquiring Avon very public, continues to attract an audience with shareholders, according to industry sources. Coty’s hope is that shareholders will put pressure on Avon’s board to engage in talks about a possible buyout. Coty has not revealed how long it plans to court shareholders, and may consider other ways to move its business forward. Sources said prior to its $10 billion bid for Avon on April 2, Coty spent several months working with an investment bank to actively prepare for an initial public offering. Earlier this week, several Wall Street analysts said that Avon’s poor first-quarter performance could encourage Coty to keep its bid on the table a bit longer.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)