New York, N.Y.—BLACK ENTEREPRISE has named Candace Matthews, chief marketing officer of Amway Corp., its 2009 Corporate Executive of the Year. Matthews is featured on the publication’s September cover and was honored at a ceremony held at the company’s Ada, Mich., headquarters Sept. 18.
In 2007, Amway’s board, led by co-CEOs Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos, decided that the company needed transforming. The family-owned phenomenon was already a global leader thanks to its diverse slate of consumer products and its aggressive, innovative approach to sales networking. Its Achilles’ heel, ironically, was the U.S. market. The company needed to reintroduce the Amway brand to an audience that no longer connected with it as it once did. While, traditionally, Amway cultivated managerial talent from within, it reached out to Matthews, already known to BLACK ENTERPRISE readers as president of Soft-Sheen Carson, the consumer products division of L’Oreal USA. The company proposed a unique challenge to Matthews: rebrand Amway in a flat U.S. market as part of a global strategy to take the company to new heights.
Matthews was tasked with moving the company from a multilevel marketing business model to a consumer driven model, creating the strategic direction for the five lines of business, establishing a process for new product development and consumer insight, and developing global positioning for Amway products and brands. By all accounts, the rebranding efforts have been an overwhelming success. While most companies were battered by the worst economic climate in a generation, Matthews’ efforts helped boost Amway’s revenues to $8.2 billion, an impressive 15 percent gain in 2008. The company projects solid growth in the single digits for 2009.
“Commandeering a marketing budget in the hundreds of millions and a 600-person global team supporting 3 million distributors, Matthews has launched a fully integrated marketing program letting consumers know that today’s Amway is not their parents’ Amway,” said BLACK ENTERPRISE President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. “The effort is already paying dividends financially but also culturally, and that bodes exceedingly well for Amway’s long-term growth and consumer acceptance in the U.S. In fact, Matthews’ intense focus on the impact of culture on brand acceptance and regional sales models has galvanized the company’s sales force.
Through her business prowess and innovative thinking, she is helping transform Amway into a 21st century global powerhouse. For that reason, Matthews has been selected as our 2009 BLACK ENTERPRISE Corporate Executive of the Year—the first such honoree to serve in the C-suite of a privately held corporation.”