Avon taps former J&J executive to fill CEO role

NEW YORK — Avon, which recently rejected a bid from Coty, has ended its previously announced search for a new CEO by hiring former Johnson & Johnson executive Sheri McCoy to take the helm.

McCoy will assume her role as Avon CEO as of April 23. The appointment brings to a close a four-month search to replace CEO Andrea Jung. Jung will continue as chairman of the board.

“We believe McCoy was one of the key prior candidates to become CEO at J&J (Alex Gorsky was recently appointed J&J’s CEO in February), and based on positive investor feedback and a strong background is a strong addition to Avon’s management team. McCoy has both global (including Latin America) and turnaround experience at J&J, important attributes at Avon, although she does not have direct selling experience,” Morgan Stanley analyst Dara Mohsenian wrote in a research note.

McCoy assumes leadership of Avon following a 30-year career at J&J, where she rose to become vice chairman of the company's pharmaceutical, consumer, corporate office of science & technology, and information technology divisions.

As previously reported, Coty submitted a nonbinding proposal to acquire Avon in a deal valued at about $10 billion; however, Avon has rejected the unsolicited bid. Coty stated that it has no intention of pursuing a hostile takeover but is making its proposal public in order to inform Avon’s shareholders of what it believes is “significant value” in a transaction.

Avon stated that Coty’s offer did not reflect the fundamental value of the company and its global beauty care franchise, and also stressed its commitment to hiring a new CEO. Avon stated that hiring a new CEO is a “greater opportunity to improve shareholder value in excess of Coty’s conditional indication of interest.”

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