By Jessica Wohl
May 23 Procter & Gamble Co on Thursday
brought back A.G. Lafley to run the world's largest household
products maker, replacing Bob McDonald immediately in the midst
of a major restructuring.
Lafley is taking on the roles of chairman, president and
chief executive officer, effective immediately, while McDonald
is set to retire on June 30 after 33 years at P&G.
The move comes as some investors have pushed for faster
improvements from the maker of Tide detergent and Gillette
razors. P&G unveiled a $10 billion restructuring program in
February 2012. Since then, it has cut thousands of jobs and
taken other steps to speed up its operations, improve its
success with new products and do a better job in both
fast-growing emerging markets and in larger, developed markets
such as the United States.
"Bob retired, the board called me and I felt like duty
called. I'm back to help maintain the business momentum and keep
this productivity program going," Lafley told Reuters.
Lafley said that, while he could not give one reason for
McDonald's retirement, "I think it's a number of personal
McDonald was not made available for an interview.
Lafley, who will celebrate his 66th birthday in June, said
P&G's board asked him days, not weeks, ago to come back, but he
did not say exactly when he got the call.
Lafley said he is "fully engaged" in coming back and wants
to finish the work that has been started on the productivity
"65 is the new 45," he joked.
Last summer, hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management
said it had a stake in P&G worth roughly $2 billion, or 1
percent of the company. CEO William Ackman, who has shaken up
management at other companies, most recently J.C. Penney Co Inc
, has blamed McDonald's team for missteps.
However, Ackman's pick for J.C. Penney, Ron Johnson, was
ousted last month and replaced by his predecessor, Mike Ullman.
Lafley first joined P&G in 1977 and served as president and
CEO from 2000 to 2009, when he handed the position over to
"(P&G) wanted to bring someone back who knows the company
well and can handle running it, both in the interim and to
provide strategic guidance," said David Larcker, director of
Stanford University's Rock Center for Corporate Governance.
"Reaching out to a successful past CEO can give the markets
confidence, while still allowing time for a company to evaluate
P&G also stood by its fiscal year and fourth quarter
guidance. Its fiscal year ends on June 30.
P&G's stock rose 42 cents, or 0.5 percent, in after hours
trading after closing at $78.70 on the New York Stock Exchange.