Natura's CEO steps down in shakeup at Brazil cosmetic maker

The logo of Natura is picture at the company headquarters in Sao Paulo
The logo of Natura is picture at the company headquarters in Sao Paulo, Brazil December 19, 2019. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli/File Photo

SAO PAULO, June 15 (Reuters) - Brazil's Natura & Co Holding SA (NTCO3.SA) said on Wednesday that Chief Executive and Executive Chairman Roberto Marques was stepping down in an organizational shakeup, handing over the reins of the cosmetics maker to board member Fabio Barbosa.

Natura, which aims to simplify its structure, is also eliminating its sustainable growth officer and chief transformation officer.

Natura shares jumped 7.8% after the announcement, making it the top gainer on Brazil's Bovespa stock index (.BVSP), which rose 1.2%.

It is "time to evolve," said the owner of Natura, Avon, Aesop and The Body Shop brands, with plans to increase the accountability of its business units after years of expansion fueled by high-profile acquisitions.

Barbosa said Natura's main priority with the move was not cutting costs, although calling it "absolutely important," but making its organizations leaner and able to be more agile.

"We also have a focus on the revenue side. ... We know that we have to improve margins, increase revenues and continue to pay attention to costs," he told a conference call .

Barbosa served as the chief executive of Santander Brasil from 2008 to 2011, also leading Banco Real for more than a decade and publisher Grupo Abril between 2011 and 2015.

Marques will remain as a board member to help with his succession, but plans to retire at the end of 2022.

Analysts at JPMorgan said the move potentially gives higher autonomy for Natura's business units to execute their plans to deliver the firm's targets.

"In the context of a challenging operating environment and limited visibility on growth and profitability trends, we believe the market is likely to welcome the changes," they said.

Natura posted a bigger-than-expected net loss amid surging costs and tepid sales in the first quarter, pushing back by a year some financial targets including net revenue.

Reporting by Gabriel Araujo; Additional reporting by Paula Arend Laier; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Edmund Blair

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Gabriel is a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based reporter covering Latin America's financial and breaking news from the region's largest economy. A graduate of the University of Sao Paulo, joined Reuters while in college as a Commodities & Energy intern and has been with the firm ever since. Previously covered sports - including soccer and Formula One - for Brazilian radios and websites.