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J&J loses Sheri McCoy after failed CEO bid

Takes role at Avon after losing out to Alex Gorsky

Sheri McCoy - AvonJust weeks after missing out on the chief executive position at Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Sheri McCoy has decided to leave the company and take up the role of CEO at beauty products firm Avon.

McCoy resigned her position as vice chairman of J&J's executive committee after 20 years' service and will leave on April 18.

Last month, J&J picked Alex Gorsky over McCoy to succeed long-serving CEO William Weldon when the latter officially stands down at the company's annual shareholders' meeting on April 26, marking the culmination of a two-year selection process.

Gorsky will take over the management of those directly reporting to McCoy, effective immediately, said the firm.

McCoy's departure thins the already lean ranks of women among the top managerial positions in big pharma, although the gender gap is less stark among smaller biopharmaceutical companies.

She was a member of a fairly select group which also included the likes of GSK's Deirdre Connelly, president, North American pharmaceuticals, Takeda subsidiary Millennium Pharma's president and CEO Deborah Dunsire, and Pfizer's chief medical officer Freda Lewis-Hall.

In a statement, Weldon said that McCoy "has made important contributions across J&J throughout her career", which began as a scientist in the consumer R&D organisation in 1982. 

"During these last several years, she was instrumental in helping to bring stronger strategic focus to our pharmaceutical business as it builds a robust pipeline and launches important new medicines; and to our consumer business as it leverages the success of its iconic brands and worked to resolve some recent challenges," he added.

McCoy takes over the helm at Avon as the beauty products company has just rejected a $10bn takeover offer from rival company Coty.

10th April 2012

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