The first? Xerox (XRX), where Ursula Burns succeeded Anne Mulcahy two years ago.
That transition has been a good one. While Avon is mired in all sorts of trouble--including an unsolicited $10 billion takeover bid from fragrance giant Coty--this succession also looks like a smart one.
McCoy, who ranks No. 10 on Fortune's Most Powerful Women list, has the broad experience in consumer and beauty businesses that Avon has been looking for since it announced last December that Jung would step down as CEO. At J&J, McCoy runs global pharma and consumer, which includes skincare brands Neutrogena, Lubriderm, and Aveeno as well as Band-Aids. Her J&J units generated $39.3 billion in sales last year, which is more than three times Avon's $11.3 billion in 2011 revenue.
Avon's board began pursuing McCoy in late February, as soon as she lost a close CEO succession race at J&J to Alex Gorsky. Avon lead director Fred Hassan, on the board's three-person CEO search committee, knew McCoy from pharmaceutical circles. Hassan is the former chairman and CEO of Schering-Plough, now part of Merck (MRK).
While the Avon board considered other candidates, including Wal-Mart (WMT) executive Brian Cornell who recently joined PepsiCo (PEP), the directors agreed that McCoy was the right package. She has technical experience that could help Avon with its R&D. She started at J&J as a chemical engineer in the company's labs 30 years ago and holds patents for her work. McCoy has held jobs in marketing and operations--running baby care, wound care, and surgical care--and now her broad responsibilities at J&J include information technology. IT has been a trouble spot at Avon.
Most importantly for an Avon workforce that has been demoralized and downsized, McCoy seems to have the right leadership style. She is known as a collaborative manager who talks openly about juggling career and family and urges people at J&J to pay attention to both. She is a mother of three sons--no daughters. But at "the company for women," as Jung labeled Avon, such work-life experience is practically the price of entry.
McCoy will have help at Avon, incidentally. Jung, who has been the longest-serving female CEO in the Fortune 500 since she took charge 13 years ago, is slated to continue as chairman for two more years. Jung isn't talking to the press right now, but word is, she plans to focus on working with Avon's Foundation and with the company's 6.4 million sales representatives--including the newest rep at the top.
Women are losing power in corporate America.
Besides the news that struggling Avon (AVP) is looking to replace Andrea Jung as CEO, there is Catalyst's annual census, released this morning, showing that women hold 14.1% of executive positions in Fortune 500 companies today, vs. 15.6% five years ago.
The trend isn't a good one, especially if you consider that companies with more women at the top tend to perform better financially, according MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 14, 2011 6:43 AM ET
In every successful career there is a moment: You could quit. But you resist, wisely.
For Andrea Jung, the chairman and CEO of Avon Products (AVP), this moment happened right after college, when she was in the management training program at Bloomingdale's. All day everyday, there she was in the stockroom, switching vendor hangers for store hangers on thousands of pieces of clothes. "I remember calling my parents around Thanksgiving and MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 9, 2011 2:20 PM ET
Fortune and Yahoo (YHOO) are teaming up to present weekly content -- stories and videos -- about Most Powerful Women. This is the first in a series of Postcards that will appear on Yahoo and Fortune.com.
It's the start of Most Powerful Women season at Fortune Magazine.
This is the time we begin hunting in earnest for the most successful women in business around the world. Fortune launched Most Powerful Women (MPW) in MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 29, 2011 9:30 AM ET
By Patricia Sellers
Yesterday, Fortune wrapped up its Most Powerful Women Summit -- the three-day event that I'm lucky enough to chair -- with Senator Olympia Snowe in the early morning and Hillary Clinton and Avon CEO Andrea Jung just before noon. Warren Buffett (BRKA), our honorary Most Powerful Guy participant, was sitting next to me watching the show from the front row. Yesterday I shared with you some choice lines MOREScott Olster, editor - Oct 7, 2010 2:39 PM ET
Steve Jobs is Fortune's "CEO of the Decade." As my colleague Adam Lashinsky says in the current issue's cover story, Jobs has created more than $150 billion in shareholder wealth--meanwhile, "transforming movies, telecom, music, and computing, and profoundly influencing the worlds of retail and design."
I've met Jobs just once, three years ago, when he came to Fortune's offices here in New York. I remember, he walked into our conference room MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 11, 2009 1:48 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
Liz Smith, who was on track to succeed Andrea Jung as CEO of Avon Products (AVP), is moving to a new company and a new industry. Again.
The onetime star exec at Kraft (KFT), who made an unlikely leap from food to cosmetics in 2004, is the newly named chief executive of OSI, a chain of casual-dining eateries.
"What?!!" is a question that Smith admits she's been asked MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 3, 2009 3:44 PM ET
Situational awareness: being aware of what's happening around you to understand how information, events, and your own actions will impact your goals and objectives.
This is how Wikipedia defines this concept that's been bandied about a lot lately, since those Northwest (DAL) pilots got distracted on their laptops and flew wayyyy beyond Minneapolis, their destination. Whatever the rogue navigators were viewing or doing on their mini computer screens, they were oblivious MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 28, 2009 2:45 PM ET
by Jessica Shambora
Some say patience is a virtue. Others say that if you want something, you have to go for it. This is the tactic Avon (AVP) president Liz Smith is taking, as the company announced today that she will step down from her post on October 30, to pursue a CEO job elsewhere. Smith, No. 29 on Fortune's Most Powerful Women list, will not be replaced, and the global MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Sep 17, 2009 7:06 PM ET
Leadership, essentially, is about inspiring others to carry on a mission. The leadership opportunity compounds in a connected, viral, global community.
Here's how leadership can spread: In 2006, Fortune and the U.S. State Department launched the Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Every year since then, we've selected two dozen or more of the best and brightest young women leaders in developing countries and invited them to the U.S. to shadow women MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 10, 2009 12:43 PM ET
|Bernanke warns against hitting the brakes too soon|
|Memorial Day travel to dip this year|
|Insanely durable smartphone ... from Caterpillar?|
|Home sales continue to climb|
|Stocks pop as Bernanke eases fears|