Robert McDonald has reportedly been named chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble, replacing A.G. Lafley, who will remain as the company’s chairman. News of the succession is expected to be announced at a Deutsche Bank Global Consumer & Food Retail Conference in Paris this morning.
McDonald, 55, P&G’s chief operating officer, had long been thought of as the frontrunner for the position, a notion reinforced when his top competitor for the spot, Susan Arnold, president of global business units, abruptly retired from the company in early March.
Several P&G spokespersons would not comment on the report, citing “rumor and speculation.”
Late Monday, the development was first reported in an online dispatch from The Wall Street Journal.
Caris & Co. analyst Linda Bolton Weiser said McDonald was the obvious choice to succeed Lafley. In a March 9 research note, Weiser wrote, “Arnold’s departure does signal news could come soon.”
From the same report, she added, moving McDonald into the ceo post during a challenging economic time would allow Lafley to leave with his legacy intact.
“They can get him out of there before it hits the fan,” Weiser said, adding it is unlikely that Lafley would stay at the helm long enough to guide the company through another turnaround. “He will have his hands full,” she added, referring to the hurdles the recession has thrown P&G’s way.
Prior to being named chief operating officer in May 2007, McDonald served as vice chairman of operations.
Since Arnold’s departure in March, several key changes have taken place. Ed Shirley, vice chair, global Beauty & Grooming, who was a former Gillette executive, put in place two executives to oversee the division, with Gina Drosos running the women’s business and Chip Bergh guiding the men’s business. A week ago P&G bought the Art of Shaving, a premium men’s shave brand, and the next day it announced plans to discontinue Max Factor in the U.S.
While making a presentation at an institutional investor conference in New York City in late May, P&G outlined investment plans to accelerate innovation, reach more consumers in emerging markets and continue its simplification and productivity efforts to drive profitable long-term growth. Organic sales growth for 2010, the firm said, will be from 1 to 3 percent ahead, driven primarily by market share growth. It added that estimates for its global markets for its business and geographic portfolio will be flat to up only modestly on a value basis versus fiscal year 2009. The company expects net sales in the range of up 1 percent to down 2 percent versus fiscal 2009, which includes a negative foreign exchange impact of 2 to 3 percent.
During the meeting, Lafley was quoted as saying, “We made the right choices over the last year to deal with the global economic crisis, and I am confident we are making the right choices as we plan for next year.”
Meanwhile, for its most recent quarter ended Dec. 31, net income was $5 billion, or $1.58 a diluted share, up from $3.27 billion, or 98 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Dragged down by lower shipments to retailers and unfavorable foreign exchange, net sales declined 3.2 percent to $20.37 billion from $21.04 billion in the year-earlier period. Organic sales gained 2 percent for the quarter, at the lower end of P&G’s revised guidance of 2 to 5 percent.
According to a biography of McDonald on P&G’s web site, he joined P&G in 1980 and has been an officer since 1999. From 2004-2007 he served as vice chairman of Global Operations, prior to which he was president of Global Fabric & Home Care from 2001 to 2004. He has extensive training in Asia with executive roles from 1991 through 1999 in the Philippines and Japan, ending in 1999 as president, Northeast Asia. He has been a director of Xerox Corp. since May 2005 and serves as a director of P&G. McDonald, who grew up in Chicago, holds a B.S. in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After graduation, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army for five years, and while still serving in the Army, he received an M.B.A. from the University of Utah.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)