tv Bloombergs Studio 1.0 Bloomberg December 15, 2018 5:30am-6:01am EST
"all sites are green." all of which helps you do more than your customers thought possible. comcast business. beyond fast. david: she was born in canada to parents who to come -- who'd come from china, and they made sure she learned mandarin along with english, while never forgetting her chinese heritage. after princeton, andrea jung began in retail, neiman marcus, bloomingdale's, ultimately ceo of troubled avon products, where she turned the company around by expanding internationally and focusing on empowering the six million women selling its products worldwide. one of the first women to serve as ceo of a fortune 500 company, she remains the longest-serving woman to this day.
currently, jung sits on the boards of apple and unilever. she has taken on a new challenge. chosen to be ceo of grameen america, where she has distributed $750 million in microloans to nearly 100,000 less fortunate women, continuing her quest to ensure women have every opportunity to succeed and lead. on "bloomberg big decisions," andrea jung. andrea jung, welcome to "bloomberg big decisions." great to have you here. great to be here with you, david. david: you spent much of your career in consumer retail. what drew you to that? andrea: it is an interesting thing. i got out of college. i thought i wanted to be a journalist. that did not pan out. i went into a training program in merchandising at bloomingdale's in those days and worked my way up, and had a passion for brands, merchandising, and that led me
through a pretty long career all the way up to avon. david: having spent time at senior levels, what intrigued you, made it interesting to work that long and hard? andrea: it came together when i got to avon and i joined the marketing and merchandising role in the north american division. what really drew me to the brand was the essence and the purpose of the brand, and i believe in socially-minded, purpose-driven brands. who would not fall in love with the concept of a company founded in 1886 by a man named david h mcconnell who wanted to give women the chance to go selling door to door when all direct sales were men at the time, 34 years before women could vote. so the brand began not only as lipsticks and skin creams, but economic empowerment for women,
and that made me extremely passionate about the mission and cause as well as the business, , fornt, for many -- per se many years. david: when you went to avon at a senior level, and there came a time the job was open, and you did not get it right away, but you stayed, why? andrea: it was a defining moment where the company was 99% women avon ladies, so the sales force was women, product line was primarily women, and only one or two women who were ceos in the fortune 500. i loved the company. i'll never forget that i got a great piece of advice from a when i did not get the job who said follow your compass, not your clock. i thought i never set out to become ceo with the final aspiration being the corner office. my aspiration was to be involved with the business and company you think does great things.
the company was struggling. i felt a commitment to the team, so i made the decision to stay. 18 months later, the ceo they did choose did not stay, and i got the job then. in hindsight when i think about it, i still would have made the decision even if that had not been the case because i love the company and i love the work i was involved in. it was the first time -- it was a life-changing thought for me, not just a professional. you have to be involved with work that you love. while the title is nice, it is not the be-all, end-all. david: whether it was a turnaround or not, it was a transformation. in various ways, internationally, online, the way you distribute, and the product itself, younger and hipper. what was your thinking in doing that? andrea: i think every brand needs to be transformed. that is different than turnaround. it is about staying relevant for
brand thatplus everybody knew. the perception was, dingdong, 'avon calling.' it was perceived in some countries as my grandmother's brand. we knew in the 1990's in order to change that, we needed the right product, packaging, and marketing, and merchandising could make a huge difference. you and i could start a business, and to have that kind of brand recognition and trust in households would be nearly impossible. it had been built over a century. so to take that base and not lose the baby with the bathwater, but look at the channel, mode of distribution, the brand and its packaging, all of that had to be changed. it was a big job, but a fascinating one because everyone loves avon. david: what is the dashboard you use to determine whether you are on course or not? andrea: consumers, where they are shopping, what they are
buying, their patterns. there is so much information now. i think that the brilliant thing is we are so data-rich that we can tell if you are looking at something for 30 seconds versus 45 seconds and you are hovering over it and have not put it in your basket, the difference between 30 and 45 seconds could predict whether you would buy that product or not. that data was not available 20 -- 5, 10, 20 years ago. it is extremely powerful. how do you use it in the right way, but add the art of merchandising, not just the science? that is the key blend. the metrics informed by consumers and data, the wealth of information is boundless right now, and not that it makes the job easier, but it allows for deeper penetration and very individualized customer targeting. david: you have experience in bloomingdale's, neiman marcus, other retailers, as well. as you look at that e-commerce world right now, what are the
possibilities, challenges, and risks to the traditional retailer? andrea: if you don't embrace it, it is a huge problem. this is how customers are choosing to spend. i think you have to look at the next generation and those who are aging into the spending years, early 30's, early 40's, and if you look at just the population and its movement, how have they been shopping? are they used to go into stores, are they used to going into malls? a is clear we are moving into generation that wants efficiency, to be able to get it at home, wants efficiency. i would never bet against e-commerce. david: maybe not walmart, but neiman marcus or bloomingdale's, can you go it alone on e-commerce or do you need to go in league with amazon, or some other way to combine with other retailers? andrea: i think it is tough to
do it alone. i think walmart, to your do it point, 10 alone. you have to have the investment power and thousands of data analytic engineers you need to really compete in it. so partnership is important. my own opinion is that partnering is probably a very smart way if you have the brands and you have the cachet, to partner with people who have the supply chain figured out, and the infrastructure, logistics figured out, and the analytics. david: how much of your being asian, chinese-canadian, really affected your role as a ceo for better or worse? how much did it make you a better ceo, or did it get in your way because you were different? andrea: that is an interesting question, because it informed who i am and how i lead. i don't think it got in the way. it did inform how i had to act and learn how to lead. i grew up in a traditional chinese family, so being sort of aggressive was not how
we were trained, how we sat around the dinner table, and yet, i had to become more assertive, so i had a lot of coaching, informal and formal, to become something that i felt was comfortable, but wasn't out of the culture in which i was raised, so i would say became far more assertive and had to learn to become much more assertive, understand that constructive confrontation was healthy and critical as ceo to get the best of the people around the table, but never become what i would consider type-a aggressive and change who i was, and not even so much as a woman, but as an asian.
david: you have had the opportunity to serve on the, important boards at publicly traded companies, still do. what, in your experience, distinguishes a successful board from a less-successful board? andrea: two things, david, trust and independence. i think you get derailed if either of those is broken. being on boards is a huge responsibility. it is also a huge privilege, and it is a changing role, a role of directors of large corporations today than it was 5, 10, even 20 years ago. i think the role of directors is becoming quite clear that strategy, risk, people, and now
culture are the four things that boards have to do. it is impossible to micromanage a business. that is leaders and managements job. but being a director for large companies, new companies, small companies, it is a privilege, but a big responsibility. david: how do you assess what you are contributing to it? why are you on the board? we will talk about a specific one, because you are on the apple board. how do you envision what you bring to it and what you take away from the experience? andrea: let me start with the latter first, because it has been an extraordinary privilege to be on the apple board for the last 10 years. it is an extraordinary company with extraordinary leaders, and the learning is impossible to even begin to express, as they themselves continue to transform and really approach the future. my feeling in the situation of apple and the other boards i
have been on his there are the experiences that everyone has had that you bring to the table, and everybody's experience is a little different, international, emerging markets, technology, but at the end of the day, what is most important is you are truly able to lead and help management the way they need it. you are not micromanaging, but at the same time, you are asking the right questions at the right time in the right way. david: you are still fairly rare in being a woman who has run a big publicly traded company. as ceo, chairman, and now board member on prominent boards, why at this point in time do we still have relatively few women running big companies? andrea: there are 5% now in the fortune 500 represented by women ceos, so 25 women, i believe, are running companies. almost 20 years ago when i
became a ceo, i think i was third, that rounded down to 0%. it is 5%, but it is 20 years. i think we would both agree that is hardly shattering any ceiling. what i am optimistic about is that the pipeline is more full. if you look at 20 years ago when i grew up in the business, chief hr officer, the communications officer, maybe the marketing officer, but the key profit and loss roles, cfos, those were mostly held by men. that is different today in 2018, so the pipeline is better. you look at the size of the companies being run by these 25 women, whether it is ginni at ibm, or indra who ran an extraordinary job at pepsi, or mary barra, these are predominantly male industries, many of them, and the fact that women have broken through gives
me optimism. having said all of that, i think it is up to the pipeline, so it is an even playing field, but every slate has to be filled with women, so if you are promoting somebody, if you are hiring and using an outside search firm, i think you have to refuse it if the slate is not equally balanced. it doesn't mean the woman has to get the job, but if you're bringing me a slate that is not half women, don't look at it. i think that is true for a board member, outside hire, promotion, a simple but critical discipline, because the outcome will never it there if the input is wrong, and the input is still wrong. david: has the paradigm for ceo shifted towards you? in the sense that you go back a generation, the brash, bold, typically male ceo is what is brought to mind. has that paradigm shifted? andrea: i think the paradigm is shifting as we speak. i think that the new
competencies and value systems of leaders are under microscope, so empathy, huge listening skills, the ability to be extraordinarily self-aware, zero hubris, important critical skills right now that if not embodied, i think it is game, set, match. i think you've got employees and customers who are loud, and rightly so, in a different way than they were even 10 years ago, and in that world, there are different leadership requirements in every dimension, but including business. david: are the boards, that you are aware, that you serve on, are they taking a proper role assisting management to make sure they have a pipeline with women ready to move in? andrea: i am lucky. the boards i am on right now, apple and unilever, do a
brilliant job, run by great male ceo's, but insisting women are part of the pipeline. the statistics, though, if i move out of these two boards validates what you just said. the question for me is, do we need to have a woman ceo to make sure the pipeline is full? i say not. this mantle of equal representation cannot be done by women alone. men and women leaders have to understand the business case for it. i was fortunate to be on a european board to give me a vantage point that was different than when i went in with. i would not have been for quotas of legislation. if you had asked me and we need to use the stick versus the carrot, i would have said, aren't we passed that in 2015? i joined the daimler mercedes-benz board in germany, a very male-dominated industry, but the eu legislation and the commitment in germany itself, what was a glacial pace for
women in management and boards accelerated quickly to 30%, and it changed a little bit of my lens. i am optimistic. i think we are getting an inflection point. there will be two steps back, one forward, and not every law will be perfect, and it will be complicated, but these are important things, equal pay, whether it is legislated women on boards. look at the consumers. when i was in the auto industry, 80% of the customers' passenger car decisions are being made by women in the household. there is a business reason, and the case has been made over and over again. so now, it is not should we do it, but how do we do it come and men have to be a part of this, not just women. david: you have made a lot of decisions over the course of your career. i wonder if there any decisions you made over the course of your career that you were wrong about. andrea: so many, david. ♪
david: andrea, you've gone on to run grameen america. explain to us what grameen america is and what does it do. andrea: i feel privileged to run grameen america, the fastest-growing micro-finance organization in the u.s. we give loans to women and their families who are in poverty, in today, 14 cities, 21 locations. they range from new york and our backyard in queens to east l.a., charlotte, north carolina, texas, and we'll be opening in houston shortly. it is now the fastest-growing micro-finance program in the united states. we have served over 100,000 women and their families, given out over $1 billion. ly, we've helped them be banked. half of female-headed households in poverty are not banked in united states, so we think it is importantly understand the power
of asset building. in the united states, just a little savings -- just five dollars a week -- if you don't have $800 in your savings account in the united states, one health issue, one emergency and you are back under the poverty line, so it has been proven that having assets is important, even a little bit a week, so we encourage that. the third thing we offer our credit scores, approximately 650 for someone who has come to us and paid back with a good repayment rate for 26 weeks, so just after six months, you can have a credit score that is respectable from no credit or bad credit, and that his -- and that is life-changing as well. our women form groups and meet with their peers every single week, and that model has given them a tremendous amount of empowerment, peer learning in the which has fueled their ability to be successful. david: grameen america is a
not-for-profit. how does it compare, the same, or different from running avon, which is for-profit? andrea: we have a 501(c)(3) status, which makes it a nonprofit, but i do it as a -- view it as a social business. it is an opportunity to have a model that can make a profit. to give you an example, in our first branch in queens, new york, we will generate close to $2 million of profit from that branch after 10 years. now that money is not going to shareholders. it is going back into the program, into fueling more entrepreneurs, helping us with our harlem branch, so the cycle of the profits is a positive thing, but we have a sustainable model, a sustainable economic model, and that makes it scalable. david: you mentioned it is women and their families. going back to bangladesh -- why
andrea: women are disproportionately affected. if i go back to bangladesh in the early days, before he started the program, if you were a woman and went to the bank to get a loan, they would say, come back with your husband. women were absolutely not given loans, so you had half of the population not participating at all in the economy, and as an economist, his deep belief was there was no way for this country, which was at that time one of the poorest countries on earth ever to move up and fulfill it sustainable the following goals if half the population was excluded, so the thought was to be able to give a loan capital to women. in the very early days, it was not easy. they went out into villages with small loans, and some of the women would say, don't give the money to me. give it to my husband. i don't really understand the language of finance. i think the extraordinarily visionary and powerful thing is they went back and said, no, that is history speaking.
there is no reason you can't be a successful entrepreneur. you can be a farmer or run a business just like your husband, and that now 40 plus years later has proven itself to millions and millions of women. david: you have made a lot of decisions over the course of your career. i wonder if there are many you made -- were any that you made that you were wrong about, either you went into it reluctantly thinking it wouldn't work and in fact it worked to your surprise or on the flipside you were sure it was going to be a good thing and it did not turn out as good? andrea: so many, david. [laughter] andrea: we don't have the hours here together. i think you have to have a huge level of self-awareness and humility when you are in these jobs. without that, you know, it is very easy to, when you are in
that corner office, not hear from other people, have people reticent to tell you you are not doing the right thing, and you have to work hard at it and acknowledge and understand when you have either made strategic mistakes, people mistakes, and of course, i wish i could have do-overs on many of them come and luckily over time, i made more right decisions been not, but the most important thing to say is, i have got to learn from that. the job changes so much. i came into ceo-ship in 1999, then the job itself compared to my predecessors was a completely different job. today, it is even different -- when i retired from the avon job in 2012, it is different, so the skills you have as a leader, which may get you through the next year, i could argue it is going so quickly at this point that it may only get you to the next six months if you don't reinvent yourself, take a stark and humble look at the mistakes you have made and how to reinvent yourself first, because
manus: the major stories surrounding headlines this week. she's a survivor. sterling under pressure as theresa may clings to power. the city of london's future remains unclear as the brexit headache rumbles on. thawing trade tensions, china says it may cut tariffs on cars. huawei cfo onhe bail, and president trump says he's ready to intervene if it would help secure a trade deal with china. the replacement for the r.b.i. governor is expected to ease tension between the central bank and government. oil extends gains as a new report sees a larger than