Staff Reporters
Nov 7, 2018

Avon calling James Thompson after leaving Diageo

Diageo's former chief marketing and innovation officer joins Avon as chief beauty and brand officer with an "aggressive" plan to grow in APAC.

James Thompson
James Thompson

Industry veteran James Thompson started at Avon as chief beauty and brand officer on November 1, with major plans for Asia. He joins the UK-founded beauty and cosmetics firm after a 24-year career at Diageo and a decade at Unilever prior to that. 

During his years with Diageo Thompson spent a significant portion of time in Asia, working as CMO for Asia Pacific from Singapore for almost six years from 2007-2013, then managing director of Diageo Reserve, also from Singapore, for a further two years until 2015, when he left Asia to become chief marketing and innovation officer for Diageo North America. 

In his new role for Avon he will be based in London, reporting to COO Jonathan Myers, and will be tasked with overseeing the 'rejuvenation' of the brand around the world. 

"I'm really excited to be joining at this pivotal moment in Avon's transformation," says Thompson, who regularly wrote a column for Campaign Asia-Pacific during his time at Diageo. "This is a new era for Avon’s brand and product marketing as we overhaul our approach. In particular we're going to be getting our marketing organisation much closer to our customers and Avon's 6 million representatives [the brand sells partly through independent salespeople it calls 'representatives'] around the world." 

"We're going to be focusing our resources and talent on key geographies to build a more glo-cal approach, increasing our agility and ability to deliver more market-relevant, on-trend products - quickly. Avon already has strong brand awareness and impressive track record in product innovation. We'll be building on this as we digitise the business and rejuvenate the brand."  

Of his plans for this region, Thompson says: "Asia is a huge opportunity for us and we have an aggressive five-year plan to grow in APAC. In many markets in Asia Avon is a big brand with a small business and big potential. We've made great strides forward in India and China this year and will be looking to accelerate growth further in 2019 and beyond." 

In his short time with Avon, Thompson has already begun hiring. Tatiana Piccolo, who formerly worked at Natura Cosmetics in Brazil and South America, will start as vice president of global fragrance on November 26, reporting to Thompson and leading one of four global category communities. 

Tatiana Piccolo joins Avon in late November


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