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February 01, 2017

Executive Announcements

Executive Announcements, February 2017

Click here to order the November 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Avon Products Taps Chris Wermann for Chief Communications Officer

TextChris Wermann

Beauty giant Avon Products Inc. has appointed Chris Wermann to the role of Chief Communications Officer.

Wermann will take on oversight of communications and corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Avon, as well as operations at the Avon Foundation for Women. He has been tapped to replace outgoing Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations Cheryl Heinonen, who advised consumer brands on communications, branding and public affairs at Burson-Marsteller before joining Avon in 2012.

Wermann hails from United Kingdom-based retailer Home Retail Group, where he led communications as Group Director of Corporate Affairs. Previously, Wermann served as European Director of Corporate Affairs for Kellogg, and in that role led a total realignment of the company’s CSR programs in Europe. Other past roles have included Director of Corporate Affairs for Avis Europe and Deputy Director, Group Communications, for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

Wermann’s appointment comes at a time when, according to CEO Sheri McCoy, effective communication is “more important than ever” for Avon. The second-largest direct sales company in the world is currently executing a three-year turnaround plan and transitioning its headquarters to the U.K. “With his strong leadership and impressive strategic communications experience, Chris will be an invaluable addition to our management team,” said McCoy.

Herbalife Adds Hong Kong-Based Nutrition Expert to Advisory Board

TextZhen-Yu Chen

The latest addition to Herbalife’s Nutrition Advisory Board is Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., an expert in food and nutritional sciences.

Chen is Chair Professor of the Food and Nutritional Sciences Programme and Head of the Graduate Division of the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In addition to lecturing, he has contributed to more than 200 journal papers, which have garnered more than 10,000 citations.

“As a highly regarded expert in the field of food and nutrition sciences, Dr. Chen is a valuable asset to the team as we look to ramp up our health and nutrition advocacy efforts all across Asia Pacific,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, Herbalife’s Chief Health and Nutrition Officer.

Chen previously has been Deputy Chairman of the Expert Committee on Food Safety at the Food and Health Bureau of Hong Kong SAR Government, and Associate Editor for the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

In 2016, the American Chemical Society presented Chen with its Advancement of Application of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Award—one of many such accolades he has collected over the years.

ViSalus CEO Steps Down, Succeeded by Co-Founder

TextRyan Blair
TextNick Sarnicola

ViSalus has entered the new year with a new CEO, as longtime chief executive Ryan Blair steps down, after leading the company from its inception in 2005. Succeeding him is Nick Sarnicola, who co-founded ViSalus with Blair and company President Blake Mallen. Blair will remain active in the business as a board member and investor in addition to advising Sarnicola through the transition.

Connecticut-based Blyth acquired ViSalus in 2012 for $792.4 million, but in 2014 the founders led a $148 million management buyout and subsequently took the company private. 

“I spent the past 12 years pouring my blood, sweat and tears into ViSalus and am pleased with the current health of the business,” Blair said in a news release. “I leave the company in my fellow co-founder’s very capable hands.”

As he resigns the top job at ViSalus, Blair is selling controlling interest in the company to an investor group led by Sarnicola. The heir to the CEO position is the company’s top Promoter, or independent seller, with a business that has helped generate more than $1 billion in cumulative sales. 

The company also announced that Vice President and General Manager for Europe Aldo Moreno, who also serves as Chief Information Officer, is transitioning to the role of Chief Operating Officer. 

Medifast’s Michael MacDonald Named Board Leadership Fellow

TextMichael MacDonald

Medifast’s Michael MacDonald, Executive Chairman of the Board, has been named a Board Leadership Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors.

The fellowship is an avenue of professional development for board members such as MacDonald, who became a Medifast director in 1998 and was named executive chairman in 2011. He also led the wellness firm as CEO from February 2012 until October 2016, when direct sales veteran Dan Chard stepped into the role. Medifast does about three-quarters of its business—$273 million in 2015—through direct sales division Take Shape For Life, soon to be Optavia.

“I am honored to join the distinguished and diverse group of individuals who make up the NACD Fellow community and who are committed to advancing the highest standards of boardroom excellence,” MacDonald said in a news release. “The resources, insights, and connections offered through NACD Fellowship will be key assets to Medifast.”

In addition to his board seat at Medifast, MacDonald currently serves as Treasurer of the Direct Selling Association and sits on the board of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. His past board appointments have included PAETEC Communications Inc., where he was lead director, Rutgers University and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Wellness Firm Genesis PURE Names New CEO

TextDaren Hogge
TextTim Hough

Two former Genesis PURE executives are rejoining the corporate team.

The purveyor of health and wellness products has tapped Daren Hogge to serve as CEO. Hogge, who has spent 29 years in the direct sales channel, was CEO of wellness firm GoYin when it merged with Genesis PURE in 2008. He then came on as president of Genesis PURE until his departure in 2012.

“It’s great to get back to the company and products I love so much,” Hogge said in a news release. “Taking a step away in 2012 was the right decision, but today I’m excited to rejoin Genesis PURE and do great things in 2017 and beyond.”

At the outset of his career, Hogge was a CPA with Arthur Andersen, before he transitioned to the channel, taking on a succession of leadership roles.

Genesis PURE also is gaining the expertise of Tim Hough, an original officer of the company who is returning as Vice President of International. Beyond Genesis PURE, Hough’s past roles have taken him from Fortune 500 companies to startups, and include a stint as marketing director for Dell Asia Pacific.

4Life Bolsters Global Leadership with VP Appointments

TextTony Lee
TextKelly Bellerose
TextDustin Rose
TextRick Eastman

The wellness company 4Life has announced a slate of executive promotions, both at home and abroad, starting with General Manager of South Korea Tony Lee, who has been promoted to Vice President of Northern Asia. In his new role, Lee will oversee growth in South Korea and Japan and implement strategic initiatives in these markets. 

“Tony has a unique ability to support and partner with 4Life distributors to achieve incredible success,” said President and CEO Steve Tew. “Under his leadership, South Korea has experienced record growth as the company’s largest international market outside of the United States.” 

The health and wellness company also has promoted Dustin Rose to VP of Software Development, Rick Eastman to VP of IT Infrastructure, and Kelly Bellerose to VP of Marketing. 

A software engineer for nearly 20 years, Rose started at 4Life in 2007. He oversees the Software Development team and the architecture that drives 4Life mobile, web, and desktop applications. 

Eastman joined the IT Department in 2011 as Help Desk Manager. He has since served as of Director of IT Support and Senior Director of IT Support and Systems. In his new role, Eastman will oversee the Support and Service teams, as well as infrastructure security protocols. 

Bellerose is expanding her former role as Vice President of Product Marketing to encompass digital and social media efforts. Having joined 4Life in 2013, she also is completing a Master of Humanities degree with an emphasis in depth psychology.