April 2013

Avon to slash 400 jobs, exit Ireland

Avon Products Inc. announced it will slash more than 400 jobs and exit the Irish market, the latest moves in the new CEO’s plan to return the beauty products company to profitability in the next two years.

The world’s largest direct seller of cosmetics is already showing signs of stabilizing its business under new CEO Sheri McCoy, who was brought in a year ago, following years of inconsistent sales in Brazil and Russia and dwindling business in China and the U.S. In December, the company set an annual cost savings target of $400 million by the end of 2015 and said it would exit South Korea and Vietnam. McCoy said at an investor conference in February that she had no qualms about exiting unprofitable markets to focus on emerging markets. She said a key priority is to reverse a long sales slide in the U.S.

The cuts, which will be completed by the end of the year, are expected to generate $45 million to $50 million in annual savings. Avon had 39,100 employees as of Dec. 31, 2012, and more than six million active sales representatives.