In the role, Helene Rutledge reports directly to Scott White, CEO of New Avon, who’s also that newly installed board of managers’ chair.
“Helene brings nearly three decades of operational and innovation experience to New Avon. She has strong experience running product innovation for world-class consumer and pharmaceutical companies - expertise which will be invaluable to our product innovation efforts at New Avon,” White says in a media release announcing the hire.
For Rutledge, it’s a return. Early in her career she worked with Avon Products, leading process development in the fragrance, children’s, and bath categories.
With substantial experience in product innovation between then and now, she’s stepped into a role where she’ll be collaborating with marketing, product development, manufacturing, and sourcing teams at New Avon as well as with R&D at Avon Products and with external partners.
Rutledge is ready to get involved with the company’s new product portfolio: “I look forward to shaping the vision for Research and Development for New Avon to ensure we continue to deliver leading edge, award-winning innovations to our Avon Representatives and their customers,” she says in the release.
“I am thrilled to be joining New Avon at this pivotal time in the company's growth journey. I have always respected Avon as an iconic, purpose-driven brand, empowering women to run their own business selling innovative beauty products,” Rutledge adds.
Rutledge joins a team that’s charged with reviving the North American Avon business. When Cerberus took over the company in March, Steven F. Mayer, senior managing director and co-head of the global private equity firm, noted that “our goal is to make the direct-selling model and the Representative experience more contemporary, efficient, and profitable by reinvigorating the Avon brand, improving New Avon LLC's competitiveness, and positioning it for long-term, sustainable growth.”
White is confident that Rutledge is the right Chief Innovation Officer for the job. “Helene will be an outstanding addition to the Leadership Team, and she will build upon our legacy of offering women first-to-market breakthrough beauty technologies, including our highly successful Anew anti-aging skincare line and Avon Color cosmetics,” he says. “This appointment reflects our commitment to being the best social selling beauty company in North America.”