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
"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
Many of Fortune's Most Powerful Women -- a group we've tracked since 1998 -- contend that corporate America will have parity at the top someday.
No way, I say. It's not that the glass ceiling won't shatter. Indeed, this year's MPWomen list, released two months ago, has more Fortune 500 company CEOs in the top tier than ever. But as I've overseen the MPWomen franchise over the past decade, I've gotten MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 11, 2008 1:08 PM ET
Fortune's No. 1 Most Powerful Woman, PepsiCo (PEP) Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, delivered disappointing quarterly earnings this morning and said that the company will close up to six plants and cut 3,300 jobs. PepsiCo stock is down 9% to $56 in midday trading.
Meanwhile, another Most Powerful Woman--a newcomer to the 2008 rankings released two weeks ago--is on a roll. Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Sheri McCoy, No. 44 on our MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 14, 2008 1:11 PM ET
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