Avon Products Inc. has a new chief financial offer.
This fall, Kimberly Ross will join Avon as executive vice president and cfo, replacing Charles Cramb who, as part of an organizational realignment earlier this year, took on the newly created role of vice chairman of the firm’s Developed Market Group. Cramb continues to serve as interim cfo.
Ross, 46, will join Avon from Royal Ahold N.V., a Netherlands-based international retailer, where she has held the post of executive vice president and cfo since 2007. Royal Ahold has nearly $40 billion in revenue and some 2,970 stores and supermarkets across Europe and the U.S. In her upcoming role with Avon, she will report to Andrea Jung, chairman and chief executive officer.
Jung stated, “We are very pleased to have attracted an experienced international financial executive of Kimberly’s caliber. Her depth of expertise across all areas of finance, her capabilities as a strategic business partner and her broad experience in developed and emerging markets will be significant assets as we continue to advance on our path to sustainable profitable growth.”
Mark Astrachan, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, wrote in a research note, “Since being named cfo in 2007, Ahold’s sales, operating profit and free cash flow have improved while debt has been reduced. Additionally, Ahold is currently ahead of schedule on a cost-savings program announced in 2009. As a result, we are encouraged by Ms. Ross’ hiring given her operational background. Specifically, we believe Ms. Ross’ experience at Ahold makes her a good fit for Avon’s cfo position, where executing on the company’s announced cost-savings program resulting in improved operating margin and consistent free cash flow generation are key.” Referring to the company’s ongoing bribery probe, he wrote, “Additionally, we believe Ms. Ross’ hiring could indicate Avon’s previously disclosed Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation is more benign than many investors fear.”