Avon Products Inc., the world’s largest direct selling beauty brand, has appointed Jan Zijderveld as CEO, effective immediately. Zijderveld, who succeeds Sheri McCoy, will also serve as a member of the Board of Directors.
Zijderveld joins London-based Avon Products from Unilever N.V./PLC, a global leader in personal care, home and food products, where he has had a 30-year career. He most recently served as a member of Unilever’s Executive Committee, and as president of Unilever’s $14 billion European business, where he was responsible for the company’s largest operating business, encompassing 34 countries and 25,000 employees. Under his leadership, the European business stabilized and returned to growth and improved profitability following several years of decline and during significantly challenging market conditions.
Zijderveld previously served as executive vice president in Southeast Asia and Australasia, where he drove substantial organic growth through a significant step-up in innovation, market development and in-store execution. During this time, he was also non-executive chairman of Unilever’s listed Indonesian business, with a market capitalization in excess of $20 billion. Prior to that, he served as CEO of Unilever Middle East and North Africa, where he refocused the food and personal care portfolio and created dedicated modern and traditional trade channels to meet the needs of the changing marketplace.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are delighted to welcome Jan to Avon, who we unanimously appointed from a very strong list of seasoned global executives,” said Chan Galbato, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Avon. “With his 30-year track record as a proven global leader, Jan has driven profitable growth in large, multi-channel, complex consumer businesses across emerging, developing and developed markets. In addition, Jan’s focus on strategic and operational excellence, while putting our direct selling representatives and consumers front and center, makes him ideally suited to lead Avon. The Avon Board looks forward to supporting Jan as he leads a deep and comprehensive strategic and operating review of all facets of the business and evaluates ways to significantly accelerate Avon’s path to profitable growth.”
“I am thrilled to be joining Avon at such an important chapter in the company’s turnaround,” said Zijderveld. “I strongly believe in the opportunity and relevance of direct selling for today’s representatives and consumers. Avon is an iconic brand with an incredible global footprint as the world’s leading direct selling beauty company, operating in the attractive and growing beauty category. With a dramatically changing consumer and competitor landscape, business as usual is not an option. Alongside continuing significant operational improvements in the near term, we will take a fresh look at the business, and deliver Avon’s next chapter with a sense of urgency. I am looking forward to working with Avon’s talented global team, while continuing to drive compelling opportunities for our 6 million representatives to do business with us.”
McCoy previously announced her intention to retire from the company and board. “On behalf of the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sheri McCoy for her leadership and commitment to Avon,” said Galbato. “During her time as CEO, Sheri has ensured Avon representatives are at the forefront of all the company does.”