Shares of consumer goods giant Avon Products Inc. (AVP) continued their downswing this week on news that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sheri McCoy has stepped down after the company failed to pull through with its turnaround effort.
As other cosmetics industry leaders have launched transformation plans focused around luring in Millennials with digital initiatives and ecommerce investments, Avon had instead decided to shift its target market and hone in on lower-income aging Americans. (See also: Ulta Beauty, PVH Corp. Thrive in Face of Ecommerce Invasion.)
Turnaround Plan Shows No Sign of Success
In May, Avon shares took a tumble after the makeup manufacturer posted a surprise loss, offering little hope to investors for its restructuring plan, which is about halfway through its three-year timeline. The same day, activist investors said the global corporation’s turnaround needed speeding up and that the firm should ditch its CEO to accelerate the process. Closing down nearly 3% at $3.51 per share on Friday, AVON shares have declined 31% year-to-date (YTD), compared to an 16% gain over the same period by rival Ulta Beauty (ULTA) and 27% for Estee Lauder (EL).
On a larger scale, the forced resignation of the consumer giant’s five-year CEO reflects the power of activists as they increasingly targeting those at the head of underperforming companies. Barington Capital Group LP and NuOrion Partners AG together own about 3% of Avon’s outstanding shares. (See also: Activist Investors Target CEOs for Replacement.)
To regain its footing and face against Millennial-friendly competitors, the pioneer of door-to-door sales must jump on the digital train, albeit late, and perhaps seriously begin to see signs of a turnaround materialize. According to sources familiar with the matter, no clear succession plan is in place and McCoy’s terms of departure are still being worked out, reported The Wall Street Journal.