Avon Products CEO Andrea Jung will become Apple's eighth member of its board of directors, the company announced Monday.
Jung gives Apple an expert on direct sales strategies and the buying habits of women--at least a certain demographic of women--which could be enormously helpful to the company in helping grow its various businesses. She has been with Avon since 1996, and before that was executive vice president of high-end retailer Nieman-Marcus.
An informal poll of women in the News.com office suggested that Avon's brand name doesn't exactly resonate with the typical under-40 San Francisco female (believe it or not, I'm not their target customer either), but Jung is well-known for her management prowess. She has been one of Fortune's 10 most powerful women in business for the last several years, and has turned around Avon's fortunes by tacking to the high end and cutting costs.
She's also fluent in Mandarin, and has helped turn Avon around in part by focusing on the growing market for consumer goods in China. That could help Apple refine its strategy for China: in many big cities throughout China, computer and electronic equipment sales are almost like the beauty section in a department store, with rows of counters decked out with different brand names staffed by aggressive salespeople. At least computers don't give off a sneeze-inducing combination of 12 different fragrances.
Apple's board had a busy year last year, fending off accusations that CEO Steve Jobs was involved in a stock-options backdating scandal that created the current board vacancy when former CFO Fred Anderson resigned his position as a director. William Campbell of Intuit and Arthur Levinson of Genentech are co-lead directors of Apple's board.