Avon names leader for North America

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News,Business

NEW YORK (AP) — Avon Products Inc. has brought in a former Tupperware executive to lead its North American operations as the direct seller of beauty products company tries to stabilize its business.

The New York-based company said that Pablo Munoz will become its new senior vice president and president of its North America unit in June. Munoz will oversee Avon's business in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

He will be responsible for turning around Avon's North American business and returning it to a solid and stable position, according to the company.

Avon has been struggling at home and abroad as weak sales have hurt its profitability. The company has also wrestled with a bribery probe in China that began in 2008 and has since spread to other countries.

CEO Sheri McCoy is leading the company in a turnaround plan to cut costs, leave unprofitable markets and streamline its operations with the goal of achieving revenue growth in the mid-single-digit percentage and $400 million in cost savings by 2016.

The company announced earlier in April that it was cutting more than 400 positions overseas and exiting its business in Ireland as part of this plan. The less than 1 percent reduction comes on top of 1,500 positions that it cut in December, when it announced that it was exiting Vietnam and South Korea.

"We are committed to returning our U.S. business to health, and I am pleased to welcome Pablo to the Avon team to lead that effort," McCoy said in a statement Monday.

The CEO said that Munoz is an innovative thinker with a track record of driving growth. McCoy also noted that he has extensive experience in both consumer product and direct sales that should benefit the company.

Munoz comes to Avon from Tupperware Brands Corp., where he has worked since 1993. He has served in a number of roles there, including leading a turnaround of its business in Latin America in 2011. Munoz worked most recently as Tupperware's group president of the Americas region.

Avon's shares increased 29 cents to $24.31 in afternoon trading. Its shares hit $24.40 earlier in the day, the highest since August 2011.

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