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Avon Names a New Head of China Operations Amid Bribery Probe

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Avon Products Inc., in the midst of investigations into alleged overseas bribery, named John Lin to run its China unit.

Lin currently heads operations in Canada, Jennifer Vargas, a company spokeswoman, said today in an e-mail.

The appointment comes as Avon searches for a replacement for Chief Executive Officer Andrea Jung, who will remain chairman at the New York-based company.

Avon is the subject of a U.S. grand jury investigation into whether ex-employees in China bribed officials, in violation of U.S. anti-corruption laws, according to a person familiar with the matter. In regulatory filings last year, Avon disclosed the firing of four executives suspected of paying bribes to officials in China.

Last month Avon said Charles Cramb, vice chairman of its developed market group, left the company amid the internal investigation into bribery. Cramb, who was previously chief financial officer, departed on Jan. 29, Avon said in a filing.

The world’s largest door-to-door cosmetics seller is seeking cost reductions and ways to boost sales as it faces heightened competition from larger cosmetics makers such as Procter & Gamble Co.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Lin’s appointment.

Avon fell 2.2 percent to $19.19 at the close in New York. The shares tumbled 40 percent last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lauren Coleman-Lochner in New York at llochner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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