Why Avon's CEO is MT's Trailblazer of the Year

Angela Cretu had the handover from hell. Management Today's Trailblazer of the Year took the helm at Avon - which was predicted to be bankrupt by 2020 - during Britain’s worst economic and health crisis. Here's how she turned its fate around.

by Orianna Rosa Royle

You’ll likely remember Avon as the catalogue of beauty products one of your friend's mothers used to promote in exchange for a cut of the sale. 

Its revolutionary 135-year-old model of direct selling enabled women to be financially independent. But by the naughties, professional roles for women were no longer scarce and so Avon ladies resembled more of a women's social club than a way to make a living.

Looking back, people may remember Avon for its “parties” - a living room full of middle-aged women swatching the latest lip gloss shade while gossiping over glasses of rosé. But with the rise of YouTube makeup tutorials and the emergence of influencers, Avon ladies - today it prefers the term “sales representative” - peddling products became increasingly irrelevant. 

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