An investor group led by Barington Capital Group, L.P. announced Thursday that it is calling on the Board of Directors of Avon Products, Inc. to immediately begin a search for a new Chief Executive Officer, replacing Sheri McCoy.
The request follows Avon’s second quarter filing, where it reported that revenue increased 2 percent to $1.3 billion, but had decreased 1 percent in constant dollars. Active representatives and ending Representatives, both from reportable segments, declined 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.
Barington pointed to the fact that during Sheri’s five-year tenure as CEO,Avon’s stock price has fallen by more than 80 percent– from $22.69 on April 9, 2012 to under $3.65 on May 5. Under her leadership, earnings per share have fallen from $1.20 in 2011, the year prior to her appointment, to a current consensus estimate of $0.32 for 2017, Barington added.
In December 3, 2015, Barington sent a letter to Avon’s Board stating that with the right leadership, “Avon can recover its position as a leading global beauty brand and create significant long-term value for shareholders.” In the letter, Barington questioned the CEO’s ability to manage the business effectively, including restoring sales growth and reducing the company’s bloated cost structure.
According to WYCO Researcher, the three big negatives coming from the earnings call was “the sharp reduction in cash from year-end 2016, the large increase in the provision for doubtful accounts receivable, and the continued drop in active sales representatives.” In addition, the WYCO Research report said, “The company cannot stay in business if it has this continued decline in its core asset representatives. It is not the quality of its products, which are low-end quality, but it is the number/productivity of representatives that has kept its in business for decades. Besides the number of reps declining, the unit sales for the period declined 7%. Because the company raised prices, revenue increased 2%. This does raise the question if AVP has been a little too aggressive in raising prices.”
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