We first reported about the possibility of Rita Davenport leaving Arbonne in February of 2010, shortly after the Arbonne Bankruptcy. We reported the Arbonne bankruptcy rumors about three months before it was announced and over 500 people commented at the time, if you have time, the comments are an interesting read with some insite into whether or not Rita was forced out or truly retired.
Here is a letter that was sent out to Arbonne VP’s about the “retirement” of Rita Davenport:
It is with bittersweet emotion that we share with you recent developments at Arbonne. We are gratified to report that the company has achieved great progress and accomplished so much in just one year following its financial restructuring. Despite an uncertain economy, the Company is at an inflection point of substantial, sustainable growth and has been growing on a year-to-year basis for the past 12 months. This is a major accomplishment, for which each of you should be extremely proud. Our recent success has truly been a team effort, reflecting your hard work and that of our new executive leadership.
At the same time, after 20 years as a dedicated member of the Arbonne team, Rita Davenport has decided to retire. We tried to persuade her to stay, and in fact we offered her many meaningful opportunities with significant compensation that would have allowed her to remain a vital part of Arbonne field development. We respect Rita’s decision at this point in her career to retire from Arbonne, take on new challenges, and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
Rita has touched and inspired so many. She has been instrumental in helping many of you achieve success at Arbonne and she has been an important part of making Arbonne what it is today. We greatly appreciate Rita’s hard work, passion and leadership over so many years.
We know you feel the same way. It is clear that you appreciate Rita and all that she has done for Arbonne and for many of you individually. We also understand that change creates challenges and uncertainty. However, it is important to realize that truly great organizations such as Arbonne owe their success to many factors, the most important of which are the drive, passion, vision and leadership that each of you brings to the company, your fellow Independent Consultants and to life in general.
Arbonne has made tremendous progress over the past twelve months, much greater than anyone could have imagined. The Company is in its strongest financial position in years, with healthy free cash flow and modest leverage. This will mean more income for Independent Consultants who are actively growing their business. New executives, with proven leadership and business experience, have been recruited, each of them believing in the power of Arbonne and the outstanding track record of the Independent Consultant organization. Significant investments are being made in business-building initiatives, product development, technology/systems, logistics and financial controls, all with a view toward supporting you and helping you grow your business.
Kay and her management team work tirelessly with that as their primary goal. Of course, there is still work to do and it is impossible to please everyone all of the time, but we believe these initiatives are beginning to show results and we have expectations for even greater success and accomplishments over the coming months and years.
This was not always the case. It is important to realize that in the past this Company’s growth was driven by unsustainable initiatives, and was not supported by the necessary infrastructure, systems and people with the experience to manage and sustain that growth. Furthermore, the excessive debt incurred by prior owners and management, coupled with the worst economic downturn in most all of our lives, created substantial barriers for this Company to overcome. Arbonne has made tremendous progress, in less than two years, toward overcoming these barriers and positioning itself for accelerated and sustainable growth.
We are aligned with and support Kay and her management team’s efforts in leading this business, but even more so we applaud, acknowledge and greatly appreciate the continued hard work, dedication, commitment and leadership of the field. We know – as does Kay and the management team – that you, the Independent Consultants, are the lifeblood of this Company and that sustaining, supporting and growing your businesses underlie all decisions. The ultimate goal of the management team is to make each of you more successful, which will then lead to success for the Company.
Thank you for all that you have done, and for all that you will do in the future, to make Arbonne a success. It will take all of us, working together, to achieve our goals. Truly great organizations, in general, and Arbonne in particular, achieve their greatness because many talented individuals are focused on contributing toward common objectives. As we all heard at GTC this year, “we are better together.”
Members of the Board of Directors Arbonne/Natural Products Group