CEO: Tupperware to transform
Official says company needs to become more accessible to consumers
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
“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.