Avon CEO Sheri McCoy Ousted After Activist Pressure

August 3, 2017, 1:24 PM UTC

After months of rumors, it’s finally official: Sheri McCoy is out at Avon.

The beauty company chief will step down in March, Avon (AVP) announced Thursday as it reported poor second-quarter results.

The news is less than shocking; activist investors Barington Capital Group LP and partner NuOrion Partners AG—which together own more than 3% of the company—have been voicing criticism of the company’s turnaround plan for the past three years, with Barington saying that McCoy had “overseen a tremendous destruction of shareholder value” and was not able to adequately manage the company, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Since McCoy took the helm in 2012, the company’s shares have fallen by 85%. The company, which is one of the U.S.’s largest direct sellers, has been losing its door-to-door sales representatives due to a failure to modernize its products and to adjust to the world of e-commerce.

McCoy last appeared on Fortune‘s list of Most Powerful Women in 2015, at No. 49. She first appeared in the ranking back in 2008, when she was the worldwide chairman of Johnson & Johnson Surgical Care Group. Before taking the job at J&J she oversaw the global pharmaceutical business and the consumer unit, which includes skin-care brands like Neutrogena. She earned a master’s in chemical engineering from Princeton and worked in a number of roles at J&J, including marketing, product science, and devices.

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The now 131-year old company was already in disarray when McCoy took the corner office five years ago, thanks to “years of management missteps (compounded by a complacent board of directors),” as Fortune‘s Beth Kowitt wrote in 2012.

McCoy was preceded by Angela Jung, whose tenure looked not altogether dissimilar from McCoy’s. As Kowitt wrote:

Execution problems bedeviled [Jung’s] far-reaching growth plans; management made bold projections about the future of the business without the strategies or expertise to deliver results. Under pressure from shareholders, Avon’s board finally announced in December 2011 that Jung would step down as CEO.

Even the two women’s backgrounds have commonalities: “[McCoy’s] high profile—and scant experience in direct sales—makes her a lot like Jung was when she joined Avon,” Kowitt wrote back then, “though McCoy arrives with significant management training and operations experience.”

While it’s still unclear who will take over top job at Avon, there is already some movement at the top. Miguel Fernandez, a former Herbalife executive, is taking over as global president this month—replacing John Higson, who will retire in the fall.

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