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.
Ever since Fortune, in 1998, started ranking the top women in business (yes, we were first), I've been asking the stars of the Most Powerful Women list how they reached the top and how they stay there. One month away from revealing our 2011 MPW rankings, now seems a good time to share some of their best career tips. Here is my Top 10:
1. Don't plan your career. Most of MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 30, 2011 10:48 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
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
by Jessica Shambora
Who's hiring? Hardly anybody, yet. But as you dream about recovery, you'd better be thinking about how to upgrade your talent. You'll be hiring again someday. Really.
We talked about hiring at the recent Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, where this year's theme was "Betting on the Future." A session called "Building a Standout Start-up" was led by two CEOs who are in major hiring mode. We thought we'd MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Oct 7, 2009 1:55 AM 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
PepsiCo (PEP) CEO Indra Nooyi, No. 1 on the just-released Fortune Most Powerful Women list, is that company's only exec who made the cut this year. But five other big companies have two women who are high-powered enough for Fortune's rankings. They are: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Avon (AVP), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Bank of America (BAC), and Fidelity Investments.
And what is the only company that has three executives on Fortune's 2009 MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 10, 2009 2:50 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
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