Women 3.0: Andrea Jung

Name: Andrea Jung

Short biography: Andrea Jung was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1959. The daughter of an amateur pianist and an architect, Jung was raised in Wellesley, Mass., (her father taught at MIT)1 and she graduated from Princeton University in 1979.2 Since then, Jung has worked at Bloomingdales; was the senior vice president, general merchandising manager if I. Magnin (a San Francisco-based luxury department store); and was the executive vice president of Neiman Marcus. Her ex-husband, Michael Gould, is the CEO of Bloomingdales.1 Jung is the mother of two.

What they do: From April of this year until Oct. 5, Jung was the Executive Chairman of Avon Products. In that position, she was responsible for working “closely with the CEO to support Avon's overall strategic direction and brand positioning.”3 However, from 1999 to April, Jung was the CEO of the same company; she likely left the position due to declining profits, bribery probes and SEC inquiries.1

Jung will continue with Avon as a senior advisor.5 She’s also on the board of a few other major American companies, including GE and Apple.1

Why they matter: Jung was the first woman to become Avon’s CEO, which, if you’ll excuse me an opinion, seems awfully silly for such a woman-oriented company. And although her tenure at the company was rocky by the end, while at Avon, Jung “helped raise more than $800 million for Avon’s charitable programs, focused on breast cancer research and fighting violence against women.”6

Her other achievements include:

  • Receiving a 2009 Princeton University Family Heritage Award.2

  • Being named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” in 2004, 20091 and 2011.4

  • Being named one of Ladies Home Journal’s 30 Most Powerful Women in America in 2001.1

How they got where they are: Jung worked her way through the executive teams of a variety of department stores before arriving at Avon. And, although she left under not-so-great circumstances, her work must have been more than sufficient at one point, however, since—unlike other typical CEO two- or three-year contracts—Jung had an open-ended contract that was “renewed again and again.”6 In a 2008 interview, Jung spoke about how being the daughter of immigrants has helped her career: “It has given me a global vantage point, being the daughter of immigrants from China, who had nothing when they came here. And now I am leading a company. It speaks to something deep in me, the concept that you don’t have to start with anything. The direct-sales opportunity allows people to change their lives.”7

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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