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A letter from Andrea Jung’s father sits on her desk at Avon, where she served as the cosmetic giant’s first female and longest-serving CEO. “Cultivate the absence of arrogance and boastfulness,” it reads. It’s this humility, along with her compassionate leadership style and marketing genius that propelled Jung to the top of Avon and into the shallow ranks of Fortune 500 female CEOs.
The daughter of two hard-working Chinese American immigrants, Jung credits her parents with furthering not just her humility, but the discipline and resolve that helped her excel throughout her life. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton in 1979 and worked as an executive at Neiman Marcus and other retailers before joining Avon in 1994 and quickly moving up the company ranks, building the company’s global brand. In 1999, at age 41 and only five years after her arrival at Avon, Jung was named CEO of Avon Worldwide, becoming Chairman in 2001. She quickly turned around the struggling 100-year-old plus organization. According to Fortune magazine, ""In her first five years as CEO, Andrea Jung gave Avon a badly needed facelift” and saw their profits nearly triple.
Stepping down as CEO in 2012, Jung ranks as the longest-tenured female CEO in the Fortune 500. She remains Chairman of Avon and sits on the boards of General Electric and Apple, as well as numerous non-profit organizations including the New York Presbyterian Hospital and Catalyst, a company focused on women in business. In 2010, Jung received the Clinton Global Citizen Award for the corporate sector, which recognizes visionary leadership in solving pressing global challenges. She perennially appears on Fortune magazine's ""50 Most Powerful Women in Business,"" and in 2011 was ranked #5 on the Financial Times’ “Top Women in World Business” list.