Avon's Sheri McCoy will reportedly step down as its chief executive officer after pressure from an activist investor, according to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. The company has struggled during her 5-year tenure.
Sources told the Journal that details for her departure are being finalized and nothing has been made official. McCoy has run the cosmetic giant since 2012, reported the newspaper, but failed to turn around the company's financial fortunes in that time.
Reuters reported that Avon's stock under McCoy's leadership has tumbled 84 percent, leading to pressure from investor Barington Capital which complained that the shares continued to suffer while she has led.
In one of her first steps as CEO, McCoy turned down a $10.7 billion takeover bid from fragrance maker Coty Inc., noted Reuters. In 2015, Avon sold more than 80 percent of its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management, a New York hedge fund.
"Ms. McCoy is near a decision to retire, according to the people, who cautioned that terms of her departure are still being worked out and no final decisions have been made," said Wall Street Journal writers Dana Cimilluca and Sharon Terlep.
"Either way, Ms. McCoy … is expected to stay on for several more months. It is not clear who might succeed her."
When McCoy took over, the beauty company had more than six million active sales representatives in about 100 countries, according to Forbes magazine. In 2016, the company announced layoffs of 2,500 while moving its corporate headquarters to the United Kingdom, said the Journal.
McCoy worked at Johnson & Johnson for 30 years, where she rose to vice chair and oversaw 60 percent of its $65 billion in revenue, said Forbes.
Reuters said Avon, one of the original door-to-door sellers more than 100 years ago, struggled to keep up with changes in the marketplace and feared that its sales model was unable to retain current shoppers who want products on demand.
Avon also champions itself as giving women a chance to earn an independent income. It was founded by David H. McConnell in 1886, 34 years before women earned the right to vote in the United States.
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