Former Avon CFO Exits

Cramb departs amid internal investigation into bribery, company says.

Avon Products Inc. said Charles Cramb, vice chairman of its developed market group, has left the world’s biggest door-to-door cosmetics seller amid the company’s internal investigation into bribery.

Cramb, who had previously been chief financial officer, departed in a “personnel action” taken Jan. 29, Avon said in a regulatory filing yesterday. No “final determinations” have been made in the investigation, nor have Cramb’s separation terms been decided, the New York-based company said.

Chief Executive Officer Andrea Jung is stepping down as the company investigates potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which led to the firing of four executives over bribes to officials in China. Avon also said in October that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began a probe into its foreign operations and its dealings with analysts.

Avon rose 1.7 percent to $18.29 at 9:50 a.m. in New York. The shares dropped 40 percent last year.

Jennifer Vargas, a spokeswoman for Avon, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Cramb couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Jung, 53, who had run Avon since 1999, will remain chairman and work with the board to recruit a replacement, the company said Dec. 13.

Avon is shaking up the executive suite amid slowing sales and profit growth as consumers cope with unemployment and an economic expansion that has trailed forecasts. With its door-to-door sales model, Avon also vies with larger rivals such as Procter & Gamble Co. and Estee Lauder Cos. that can spend more on research and marketing and have a strong retail presence in fast-growing emerging markets such as China.

 

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Jung recommended splitting the CEO and chairman roles “to better address the company’s scale and opportunities,” Vargas said in an interview in December.

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