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P&G activist investor continues to criticize, but concedes more time needed

By Simon Pitman , 02-Oct-2012

Procter & Gamble activist investor William Ackman has given a public interview in which he has continued to criticize inefficiencies at the consumer giant, but admits the management needs more time.

Ackman, who is head of Pershing Square Capital Management, which made an investment in the consumer giant that amounts to less than 1 percent back in June of this year, gave an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, in which he said that his company was not interested in a buyout or a takeover.

He also added that the company’s CEO, Robert McDonald, would likely get a ‘a little bit more time’ from his fellow board of directors to enable him to address core problems that have been attributed to a continuing downward trend in P&G’s financial performance over the course of the last several years.

Criticism of ineffeciencies

But Ackman, who is known for his hard-hitting and no nonsense management style that has been attributed to the turnaround of a series of major companies he has invested in in recent years, did not hold back on his criticism of what he sees is wrong with the management and running of P&G.

In particular Ackman stated his belief that the organization has lost its direction in recent years, a factor that has caused it to become overloadded and fall behind many of its leading competitors in the personal care arena.

“There is not a culture of efficiency at Procter & Gamble, which has led to a fat and bloated company,” said Ackman during the CNBC interview.

“ In a competitive world where so many businesses are nimble and can make faster decisions, have better cost structures, it allows them to invest in growth, which this company has not been able to do in the last several years.”

McDonald is focused on succeeding

And true to form, Ackman did not mince his words on who he believes is responsible for the current predicament at P&G, laying much of the blame on McDonald during the course of the interview, adding to months of public and vociferous criticisms of the chief.

Ackman added that his company has clearly laid down on the table what it wants from the company and McDonald, stating his belief that McDonald is ‘very focused’ on succeeding in these goals and maintaining his position at the head of the company.

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