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.
This week's issue of Fortune includes Best Advice from Kevin Ryan, a master builder of startups who is co-founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe.
Ryan's partner at the helm of Gilt, chairman Susan Lyne, also has wisdom to share--about handling high-bar assignments with finesse. Lyne has worked for an unrivaled lineup of demanding bosses, rarely letting them see her sweat: She developed films for Jane Fonda, launched Premiere magazine for Rupert Murdoch, ran ABC Entertainment for MOREPatricia Sellers - Apr 6, 2012 10:16 AM ET
Marissa Mayer has been a pioneer in the unofficial "Geek is Chic" movement. Google's (GOOG) first female engineer, who is now the company's VP in charge of all things local, has appeared in Vogue, rocked the cover of Fortune's 40-Under-40 issue, and been nominated for Vanity Fair's 2011 International Best Dressed List. She is an angel investor in female-founded companies like Minted and One King's Lane. Mayer also mentors rising-star MOREColleen Leahey, Reporter - Dec 1, 2011 11:59 AM ET
Meg Whitman's first report card as CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) comes this afternoon when the company announces fourth-quarter earnings.
In the 60 days since she took the job, Whitman has settled on a strategy (keep HP in the PC business), worked to raise employee morale (terrible after three CEO ousters), and lifted the stock (up 12% since her appointment). But the former eBay (EBAY) chief, who lost her race for governor MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 21, 2011 2:09 PM ET
The $25 million two-year deal that Chelsea Handler just chalked with the E! network says something about the enterprising queen of late-night TV talk. She sure knows how to negotiate.
"I do behave badly and I get paid well for it," Handler told Piers Morgan on CNN (TWX) last evening, adding, "It's a really good time to be me."
Last month, when I interviewed Handler on stage at the Fortune Most Powerful MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 18, 2011 1:29 PM ET
Since she arrived from Starbucks (SBUX) in 2008, Christine Day has done a remarkable job building Lululemon (LULU). Once just a retailer for yoga enthusiasts, Lululemon is now a fast-growing lifestyle brand. The stock has more than tripled in three years.
Day has never put herself in the spotlight, but Fortune's online readers clearly recognize how effective she is. The results of our just-released Businessperson of the Year poll show that MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 17, 2011 3:59 PM ET
Somaly Mam is a hero. Nick Kristof said so in his op-ed column in the New York Times this past weekend. Kristof raided a brothel in Northern Cambodia with this amazing woman who has become the guiding light in fighting forced prostitution around the world.
After escaping a similar brothel, where she was raped and tortured on a daily basis for years, Somaly Mam found her purpose. She devoted her life MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 15, 2011 10:00 AM ET
Evelyn Lauder, who died of complications from non-genetic ovarian cancer on Saturday, had a swarm of close friends throughout her life. Yet many close friends who attended her funeral today did not have a clue that she would die so soon.
Classic Evelyn. "It was never about her. It was always about you," Liz Robbins, a prominent Washington lobbyist, told me this morning over breakfast before she headed to the invitation-only MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 14, 2011 1:22 PM ET
Veteran's Day is an ideal time to hear from one of those rare folks who combine corporate and military careers. Dan Cross, a software engineer at Google (GOOG) and a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, took a leave to serve active duty in Afghanistan, came home a year ago, and brought back lessons that he couldn't have learned in business. While he had never seen himself as the MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 11, 2011 10:09 AM ET
The best CEOs, I've learned in my 27 years at Fortune, come to the job with a deep-seated passion and a very personal view of what they want to accomplish.
PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi may be struggling lately. Yes, investors are impatient with her healthy-products strategy, the stock is down, and the Pepsi boss dropped to No. 2 behind Kraft Foods (KFT) CEO Irene Rosenfeld on the 2011 Most Powerful Women list.
But MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 10, 2011 11:14 AM ET
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