Avon CEO Sheri McCoy to step down following activist pressure

Cosmetics maker Avon Products, which has been under pressure from activist investor Barington Capital, said on Thursday Sheri McCoy will step down as chief executive in March next year.

Barington had been pushing for management changes at the company since 2015, but backed off for a year after Avon signed a deal to sell its U.S. business to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management and added an independent director to its board.

Barington renewed its pressure after Avon reported a surprise loss in the quarter-ended March and demanded McCoy be removed, accusing her of overseeing "a tremendous destruction of shareholder value" and questioned her ability to manage the business effectively.

Since McCoy took the top job at the cosmetics maker in April 2012, the shares have fallen nearly 85 percent. The company has reported higher quarterly sales only twice since 2015.

Avon on Thursday reported a 3 percent drop in quarterly revenue as demand fell in most of its markets including the northern part of Latin America and Europe, Middle East & Africa.

Barington did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

Avon said on Thursday it had retained executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to identify McCoy's successor.

The company's shares were marginally down in premarket trading.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)