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.
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) watchers--and many insiders too--were betting that Sheri McCoy would be the health-care giant's next CEO. This week, the guy, Alex Gorsky, got the job instead.
The contest to succeed chief Bill Weldon, which started in earnest two years ago, was extremely close between the two vice chairmen, according to my sources close to J&J. While some have speculated that the board favored Gorsky, 51, because he's MOREPatricia Sellers - Feb 24, 2012 12:35 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Sheri McCoy has been rocketing up Fortune's Most Powerful Women list. This year, she is No. 12, vs. No. 44 in 2008.
The giant leap was the result of her promotion to worldwide chairman of J&J's pharmaceuticals group, a $22.5 billion-a year business. And Fortune has been predicting for a while that McCoy has a good shot to be J&J's next CEO.
Sure enough, McCoy is MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 16, 2010 12:33 PM ET
by Jessica Shambora
We keep hearing how the economy is improving, but with U.S. unemployment at 9.8% and rising, the job market gives us nothing but anxiety. Today Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) added to the pain by announcing layoffs of 6-7% of its workforce. That's about 7,000 employees.
While J&J faces lots of industry-specific challenges--patent expirations, increasingly complex regulation, healthcare reform--the news is stunning. Particularly because J&J is known for its MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 3, 2009 7:46 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
"Betting on the Future." That's the 2009 theme of Fortune's Most Powerful Women, who convened in New York City last evening for a mega-celebration and some very smart conversation. I'm not sure I belong on stage with three superstars under 40: Bank analyst Meredith Whitney, Google's (GOOG) Marissa Mayer, and Goldman Sachs' (GS) Dina Powell. But there I was (at age 49), talking with them them about how they've navigated MOREPatricia Sellers - May 22, 2009 5:30 PM ET
by Jessica Shambora
For this year's Fortune 500 issue, senior writer Geoff Colvin and I had the chance to look inside one of the list's most enduring performers: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). The New Brunswick, N.J.-based health care giant is notoriously media shy, but in the midst of the economic doom and gloom, the company decided it was time to tell its 123-year story of success. What a story that is. MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Apr 27, 2009 2:25 PM ET
"I'm one of these who believes you have so much gray matter in your head. And if you take all your gray matter and you worry about what you can't control, you're wasting an awful lot of good gray matter, right?"
--Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) CEO Bill Weldon, in a recent interview with Fortune. The New Jersey-based maker of Band-Aids, knee replacements, and prescription drugs--and a bellwether for the health-care industry--announced MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Apr 14, 2009 6:52 PM ET
by Jessica Shambora
For Fortune's Most Admired Companies issue, released this week, I interviewed the CEOs of two top performers: Bill Weldon at Johnson & Johnson (No. 5 on the list) and Jim Skinner at McDonald's (No. 16). Fortune ranks companies based on survey results from more than 4,000 executives, directors and securities analysts.
My interviews with these chiefs covered a range of topics, from cosmetic surgery to the Dollar Menu. But MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Mar 5, 2009 3:02 PM ET
"The more challenged you are, the more you have to have your values."
-- Jim Collins, management guru and author of Built to Last and Good to Great, in a Q&A in the current issue of Fortune. As he notes, companies like Procter & Gamble (PG), General Electric (GE), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), and IBM (IBM) have an incredible fabric of values--underlying ideals that explain why the companies exist. Even more MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jan 22, 2009 6:25 PM ET
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