AVON CEO’S PAY GROWS 50.1%

NEW YORK — Just as Avon Products Inc. exceeded its earnings target for 1996, so did its chairman and chief executive officer, James E. Preston. He saw his total pay package surge 50.1 percent to $2.7 million.
According to the company’s proxy statement, under a five-year contract, Preston’s annual base salary stayed at $610,000 in exchange for options. However, under a new employment contract, as of 1997, Preston’s salary will be boosted to $1 million.
The higher 1996 payout reflected a 47.3 percent jump in Preston’s bonus to $561,556 from $381,251 in 1995. He also received $1.5 million in long-term incentive payout for the three-year period from 1994 through 1996, and $59,166 in other compensation. Preston got another $3.2 million from exercising 120,000 shares of Avon common stock in 1996.
Since Preston is expected to retire in 1998, when he turns 65, Avon said it did not make long-term incentive payouts under his 1997 contract.
Among other executives, Edward J. Robinson, president and chief operating officer, saw his total compensation more than double to $2.3 million from $1.1 million. Robinson’s annual salary rose only 4.9 percent to $549,644, but his bonus grew 53 percent to $735,536 from $479,665. His long-term compensation totaled $966,928. Robinson also received $1.3 million from exercising options on 50,000 shares of common stock.
Christina A. Gold, former senior vice president and president of Avon U.S. who last week was promoted to executive vice president, had a 10.6 percent gain in annual base salary to $340,718. Her bonus surged 79.2 percent to $301,072 from $168,036 in 1995. Her long-term compensation totaled $563,929.
Avon’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, Edwina D. Woodbury, also got a raise. Her annual salary moved up 10.1 percent to $283,913, and her bonus advanced a whopping 64.5 percent to $255,334. Woodbury’s long-term compensation came to $628,860. She also realized $380,931 from exercising options on 13,999 shares of stock.
In the year ended Dec. 31, the cosmetics giant’s profits rose 11.1 percent to $317.9 million, or $2.38 a share, from $286.1 million, or $2.10, before a charge for discontinued operations a year earlier. After the charge, 1995 net income came to $256.5 million.
Sales climbed 7.2 percent to $4.81 billion.

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