CEO: Tup­per­ware to trans­form

Of­fi­cial says com­pany needs to be­come more ac­ces­si­ble to con­sumers

Orlando Sentinel - - BUSINESS - By Austin Fuller

Tup­per­ware’s in­terim CEO com­mit­ted to con­tinue trans­form­ing the com­pany on Tues­day af­ter the Osce­ola County-based busi­ness has en­dured de­clin­ing sales and a plum­met­ing stock price over the past two years.

“You can be a great brand with a great pur­pose, but if you don’t keep up and trans­form and keep up with times, you can find your­self fall­ing behind,” in­terim CEO Christophe­r O’Leary said at the Morgan Stan­ley Global Con­sumer and Re­tail Con­fer­ence in New York City.

His pre­sen­ta­tion with ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief financial of­fi­cer San­dra Har­ris came af­ter O’Leary took the helm from Tri­cia Stitzel last month.

The com­pany has not seen sales in­creases in a quar­ter over the pre­vi­ous year since 2017, with the third quar­ter of 2019 down 14% ver­sus last year, earn­ings re­ports show. Tup­per­ware’s stock price had fallen more than 76% in 2019 and the busi­ness an­nounced last month it was sus­pend­ing its quar­terly com­mon div­i­dend.

O’Leary said the global mar­keter of kitchen, beauty and per­sonal care prod­ucts still be­lieves in di­rect sell­ing and wants its sales force to grow, but it needs to be­come more ac­ces­si­ble to more con­sumers.

Tup­per­ware re­cently re­launched its web­site in some coun­tries, in­clud­ing the U.S. and Canada, and added a tool that al­lows its sales force to pro­mote mar­ket­ing con­tent across so­cial me­dia plat­forms. The com­pany also de­buted its first pop-up shop in New York City, which will be open through Dec. 22.

The com­pany has an in­de­pen­dent sales force of more than 3 mil­lion. It em­ploys about 300 peo­ple at

One an­a­lyst who fol­lows Tup­per­ware be­lieves ex­e­cu­tion will be key in grow­ing ac­cess to cus­tomers.

“I think it’s in­ter­est­ing that they’re talk­ing about ex­pand­ing out­side the di­rect-sell­ing chan­nel, per­haps in a big­ger way than they may have be­fore,” said Doug Lane, prin­ci­pal of Lane Re­search. “That’s a very tricky sit­u­a­tion … it’s very del­i­cate.”

O’Leary also ad­dressed Stitzel’s de­par­ture from the com­pany.

“Both Tri­cia and the board agreed that we needed, frankly, some more ex­pe­ri­ence with global trans­for­ma­tion,” O’Leary said. “We be­lieve in the strat­egy, but you can’t es­cape the fact that we’re not per­form­ing as we trans­form.”

He added Tup­per­ware be­lieves as it en­ters next year it will find a per­ma­nent CEO in “pretty short or­der.” its

Osce­ola head­quar­ters.

“We will find the right per­son, and not short­change that process by any way, shape or form,” he said.

Stitzel had been with the com­pany since 1997 and be­came the com­pany’s first female CEO last year, re­plac­ing Rick Go­ings. He had been with the busi­ness since 1992 and be­came chair­man and CEO in 1997.

O’Leary had served as an in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor of the com­pany’s board since Jan­uary and had pre­vi­ously worked as ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, in­ter­na­tional, for Gen­eral Mills.

His an­nual base salary is $1 mil­lion and he was also el­i­gi­ble for a $1 mil­lion stock award and par­tic­i­pa­tion in the com­pany’s in­cen­tive pro­gram, doc­u­ments show.

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