Avon Announces Management Changes

Sep 11, 2007 | Contact Author | By: Jeff Falk
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Title: Avon Announces Management Changes
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Avon Products, Inc. announced several management changes designed to further strengthen the company's operating model as it continues to execute its turnaround plan.

Elizabeth (Liz) Smith—formerly executive vice president and president, North America and global marketing—was appointed president, Avon Products, Inc. In addition to retaining her current responsibilities for North America operations and global brand marketing, Smith will now also oversee global supply chain and global information technology, giving her full, end-to-end leadership for the company's product-to-market processes, infrastructure and systems. She will maintain her current reporting relationship to Andrea Jung, Avon's chairman and CEO.

"Liz has played a key leadership role in Avon's turnaround since joining the company three years ago," said Jung. "She has been instrumental in setting the company on the path to sustainable growth and has significantly elevated our analytical and operational rigor.

"Aligning our product-to-market functions under a leader of Liz's caliber will help us accelerate the global integration of our key business processes and technology. This will be an important enabler for two of the company's most critical turnaround initiatives, Product Line Simplification and Strategic Sourcing, which together are projected to deliver total annual benefits of more than $400 million to help us fuel continued growth."

Jung said that by appointing Smith as president and by newly defining the role to ensure alignment and integration of Avon's global business units, the company is laying further groundwork to significantly strengthen global governance of key company strategies within its new operating model.

"Liz will work closely with me in her newly-created role to ensure that we effectively operationalize the matrix and fully leverage our global capabilities as we continue to move forward with the turnaround," Jung said.

The company also announced that Charles (Chuck) Cramb—formerly executive vice president, finance and technology, and CFO—has been appointed to the position of vice chairman, chief finance and strategy officer. Cramb will continue to provide strategic leadership of Avon's restructuring and cost containment initiatives as part of the company's current turnaround plan. In addition, he will now assume broader responsibility for longer-term strategic planning and business development, helping to define the company's next phase of growth. Cramb will continue to report to Jung.

"Since he joined Avon two years ago, Chuck has been an invaluable business partner, and has made significant contributions to our company's successful turnaround effort," said Jung. "Chuck led the development of Avon's current restructuring and financial transformation programs which are helping fuel a major acceleration in our growth investments.

"Going forward, Chuck will remain focused on overseeing the implementation of this plan, and he will also now work more closely with me to address longer-range strategic opportunities as we continue to build a strong foundation for future growth."

In light of Smith's expanded responsibilities, the company named Andrea Slater, formerly the president of Avon U.K., to the position of president, Avon U.S., reporting to Smith. A 17-year Avon veteran, Slater, according to an Avon statement, is one of the company's most experienced and innovative marketers and an expert in building and sustaining momentum among the company's sales representatives. Most recently, she has led the strong performance of Avon U.K., a developed market facing similar competitive challenges as the U.S.

"Andrea brings valuable skills and important management insights to the U.S. at this critical juncture in the business as we begin to gain traction with the turnaround," said Jung. "With Liz's continuing oversight as head of North America operations, we now have a powerful combination of leadership talent committed to the priority objective of restoring our number one market to sustainable growth."

In line with the management changes announced today, Jung also noted that the company's international commercial business units of Latin America, Western Europe, Middle East & Africa, Central & Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific and China will continue to report directly to her.

"We remain committed to the principles of a delayered organization which have helped us to get closer to our markets and customers and are a cornerstone of our turnaround," said Jung. "The management changes we announced today are a natural evolution of our management structure to better enable us to deliver against our near and longer-term objectives. Liz and Chuck have provided key leadership of our turnaround to date, and Andrea Slater has demonstrated exceptional skill and understanding of how to drive sustainable growth in a developed market. We are pleased to have the opportunity to further enhance and leverage the capabilities of these talented executives as we go forward."