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6 Retailers Banking on a New CEO in 2012

Stocks in this article: JCP TLB AVP NILE BONT AEO

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Retailers are ending the year with major shakeups at the top.

The second half of 2011 brought the resignation and retirement of several major retail leaders. For most of the companies, these changes at the top couldn't come fast enough.

With a batch of retailers now entering 2012 with a new CEO (or on the hunt for a successor) the question is can new managers revive these sinking ships?

Here's a look at the companies betting on new leadership in 2012.

Avon

Wall Street celebrated Avon's (AVP) decision this week to search for a new CEO.

Andrea Jung, who has led the beauty company for 12 years, will remain chairman. Jung will work with the board to find her replacement and will continue to serve in both roles until her successor is named. Shares of the company soared more than 6% on the news Wednesday, as investors have been clamoring for a change in leadership.

Avon has been pressured by lackluster earnings and has been the center of a regulatory investigation. In October, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it was investigating Avon's contact with financial analysts in 2010 and 2011. It is also reviewing Avon's own bribery probe that began in 2008; it started in China, but has since moved to other countries.

Earlier in the year, the company said it is reviewing all aspects of its business and withdrew its revenue forecast for the year.

Jung will now serve more as a figure head of the Avon brand, similar to the role William Lauder took at Estee Lauder.

"While it has been under-earning for many years, we think a new CEO will find fertile ground given Avon's historically strong local currency sales growth and high gross margin," BMO Capital Markets analyst Connie Maneaty wrote in a note. "Given that it could be several months before a new CEO is named, a turnaround will take time to execute and we think EPS potential will become more visible starting in 2013."

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