tv Bloombergs Studio 1.0 Bloomberg December 16, 2018 3:30am-4:00am EST
♪ david: she was born in canada to parents who'd come from china, and they made sure that she learned mandarin along with english, while never forgetting her chinese heritage. after princeton, andrea jung began a life 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. and she's taken on a new challenge, chosen to be ceo of grameen america, where she has already distributed $750 million in microloans to nearly 100,000 less fortunate women, continuing her quest to ensure women have every opportunity to succeed and to lead. on "bloomberg big decisions," andrea jung. andrea jung, welcome to "bloomberg big decisions." great to have you here. andrea: great to be here with you, david. david: you've spent much of your career in consumer retail business. what drew you to that? andrea: it's an interesting thing. i got out of college. i thought i wanted to be a journalist. that didn't pan out, so 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? what 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 actually the essence and the purpose of the brand, and i really believed in socially-minded, purpose-driven brands. who wouldn't fall in love with the concept of a company founded in 1886 by a man named david h mcconnell, who actually 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
also as economic empowerment for women, and that made me extremely passionate about the mission and cause as well as the business, per se, for many years. david: when you went to avon at a senior level, people talked about you for the top job, and there came a time the job was open, and you didn't 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. and i, i loved the company. i'll never forget that i got a great piece of advice from a mentor when i did not get the job, who said follow your compass, not your clock. i thought i never sort of 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 great commitment to the team, and so i made the decision to stay. 18 months later, the ceo they did choose didn't stay, and i got the job then. in hindsight when i think about it, i still would've made the decision even if that hadn't 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's 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.
and i think that's a little bit different than turnaround. it's about staying relevant for a 120 year plus brand that everybody knew. everybody knew the avon lady, but 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. but you know, 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, look at 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're on course or not?
andrea: i think you have to look at consumers, where they're shopping, what they're 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're looking at something for 30 seconds versus 45 seconds and you're hovering over it and haven't 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 5, 10, 20 years ago. it's extremely powerful. how do you use it in the right way, but add the art of merchandising, not just the science? that's 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, you have experience at 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's 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? and it's clear we're moving into a generation that wants speed, 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's tough to do
it alone. i think walmart, to your point, can do it alone. you have to have the investment power and thousands of data analytic engineers you need to really compete in it. so, partnership i think 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, as you say, 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's 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, not 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, not even so much as a woman, but as an asian. david: 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. ♪
david: you have had the opportunity to serve on some very important boards at some 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's also a huge privilege, and i think that it's 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 i think are the four things that boards have to do. i think it's impossible to micromanage a business. that's leader's and management's job. but being a director for large companies, new companies, small companies, it's a privilege, but a big responsibility. david: how do you assess what you are contributing to it? why are you on the board? we'll talk about a specific one, because you're 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's been an extraordinary privilege to be on the apple board for the last 10 years. it's 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, technology.kets, but at the end of the day, what's most important is you're truly able to lead and help management the way they need it. you're not micromanaging, but at the same time, you're asking the right questions at the right time in the right way. david: you're 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%. i think it's 5%, but it's 20 years. i think we would both agree that is hardly shattering any ceiling. what i'm 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 your key roles, your key profit and loss roles, cfos, those were mostly held by men. that's different today in 2018, so the pipeline is better. you look at the size of the companies being run by these 25 women, you know, whether it's 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 some optimism. having said all of that, i think it's up to the pipeline, so it 's an even playing field, but every slate has to be filled with women, so if you're promoting somebody, if you're hiring and using an outside search firm, i think you have to refuse it if the slate isn't 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's 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.
you know, i think that the new competencies and value systems of leaders are under a microscope, so empathy, huge listening skills, the ability to be extraordinarily self-aware, zero hubris. are reallyse important critical skills right now that if not embodied, i think it's 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 in business. david: are the boards, that you're 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'm lucky.
the boards i'm 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. but 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 making sure there's 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 the one 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've 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, as well as women on boards, accelerated quickly to 30%, and it changed a little bit of my lens. i'm optimistic. i think we're 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's legislated women on boards. you look at the consumers. when i was in the auto industry, 80% of the customers' passenger car decisions are being made by the women in the house. there's a business reason, and the case has been made over and over again. so now, it's 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've made a lot of decisions over the course of your career. i wonder if there any decisions you made over the course of your
david: andrea, you've gone on to run grameen america. first of all, explain to us what grameen america is and what does it do? andrea: i feel really privileged to run grameen america, the fastest-growing micro-finance organizations in the united states. 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's now the fastest-growing micro-finance program in the united states. we've served over 100,000 women and their families, given out over $1 billion. secondly, we've helped them be banked. half of female-headed households that live in poverty are not banked here in united states, so
we think it's 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're back under the poverty line, so it's 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's respectable from no credit or bad credit, and that is life-changing, as well. our women form groups. they 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 do have a 501(c)(3) status, which technically makes it a nonprofit, but i view it as a social business. i view it as 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 isn't going to shareholders. it's going back into the program. into fuelingck 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's women and their families. going back to bangladesh -- why do the loans all go to women?
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. 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 -- sustainable development 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 actually 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. but i think the extraordinarily visionary and powerful thing is they went back and said, no,
that's history speaking. but there's no reason you can't be a successful entrepreneur as anybody else. 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've made a lot of decisions over the course of your career. i wonder if there 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're in these jobs. without that, you know, it's
very easy to, when you're in that corner office, not hear from other people, have people reticent to tell you you're 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's even different -- when i retired from the avon job .n 2012 it's 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
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"all sites are green." all of which helps you do more than your customers thought possible. comcast business. beyond fast. ♪ june: coming up on "bloomberg best," the stories that shaped the week in business around the world. instead of voting on a brexit deal, parliament votes on a prime minister. >> this no-confidence vote has been threatened for so long. it is actually happening. >> the parliamentary party does have confidence. june: theresa may survives another challenge, but can she get her brexit plan across the finish line? >> she will still have a deal she cannot get through the house of commons. >> she is a dead woman walking. june: not much clarity on the trade front either as the u.s. and china send mixed signals. kevin: we are hearing they separated the iss