Avon Products Inc. has approached HSN Inc. chief Mindy Grossman to be its new CEO, a person familiar with the matter said, as the cosmetics company gets closer to replacing longtime Chief Executive Andrea Jung.
It is unclear how many other candidates might be under consideration.
On Tuesday Avon reported a fourth-quarter loss, due to a write-down on a jewelry acquisition, and said it plans to cut costs through layoffs and other moves. Layoffs won't be as extensive as in prior restructurings, the company said. A more-thorough overhaul will be put off until a new CEO is on board, Avon said.
Avon is hoping to move beyond a string of disappointing financial results and failed restructuring efforts under Ms. Jung that angered investors and hurt the company's stock. The company, which also faces federal investigations into possible bribery of foreign officials, said in December that Ms. Jung would leave the top job once a new CEO was found. The company has said it is cooperating with the investigations, which already have precipitated some high-profile dismissals.
Executive search firm Spencer Stuart is conducting the search process, according to a person familiar with the matter. Both Avon and HSN declined to comment on the CEO search.
Ms. Grossman has won plaudits for crafting a more upscale image for the home-shopping channel, pulling in designers like Naeem Khan and Sam Edelman to sell lines personally on HSN, while clearing out brands that weren't contributing.
She joined HSN in 2006 after six years at Nike Inc. and another five running Polo Jeans Co. and took the company public in 2008, when it was spun off from IAC/InterActiveCorp. For the first nine months of 2011, HSN's sales grew 6.8% to $2.2 billion.
With almost four times HSN's sales and a market value of $7.7 billion compared with HSN's $2.2 billion, Avon would give Ms. Grossman a bigger stage. But challenges include shaping up far-flung operations and seeing through the investigations into possible corruption overseas.
In addition, Ms. Jung plans to remain as executive chairman after relinquishing her CEO title, raising concerns among some former Avon CEOs that her presence will make it hard to attract a new leader. On Tuesday, Ms. Jung told analysts that she wouldn't interfere with the new CEO and said the search is going well.
A person with ties to Avon's board reached out to former Sara Lee Corp. executive Christopher J. "CJ" Fraleigh in December in connection with the CEO search, but nothing came of the approach, a person familiar with the matter said.
The New York Post, which like The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp., previously reported Avon's interest in Ms. Grossman and Mr. Fraleigh.
For the fourth quarter, Avon posted a loss of $400,000, compared with a profit of $229.5 million a year earlier, as the company wrote down its 2010 acquisition of Silpada Designs Inc., a direct-seller of jewelry. Revenue dropped 4.2% to $3.04 billion. Gross margin weakened as well, to 61.1% from 61.8%, reflecting commodity costs as well as an inventory-related charge in Brazil. A botched implementation of a data-management system in Brazil last year disrupted business in the key market.
Avon offered little in regard to its outlook for fiscal 2012, although it did say that it didn't expect profit margins to recover and that to generate cash it would strive to improve sales and control costs. The company scrapped its financial forecasts last fall citing volatility in the global economy and is reassessing its long-range business plan.
Investors were relieved that the company reassured them that its sizable dividend would be maintained, and that it had enough cash to make the payout. Avon's shares closed up 1.5% Tuesday at $17.80. They have lost more than a third of their value in the past year.Paul Ziobro contributed
to this article.