P&G boss targets leaner and more decentralized business, in first public address

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

David S. Taylor, P&G President and CEO
David S. Taylor, P&G President and CEO

Related tags: Chief executive officer, Executive officer

All eyes were on David S. Taylor, as he made his first public presentation as CEO and President of Procter & Gamble since he was appointed to the position last year.

Industry observers and financial analysts were keen to discover what direction the new company head is mapping out for the consumer giant, and the message was clear: he will be overseeing the transition to a leaner more efficient business with a stress on greater powers for regional managers.

“A few years ago we got too central and global and too slow to address market opportunities. We need more direct ownership for our regional managers all the way to the store shelf,”​ Taylor said at the analyst conference in New York, on Friday.

Responding to criticism about being too top heavy

The company has responded to criticism that the company was too top management heavy, with the power and decision-making process being very much focused on the Cincinnati headquarters.

The consensus is that Taylor’s decision to devolve that power and focus it on a more regional level will allow managers in different geographies to make decisions that are more informed and closer to what is going on in the different markets.

Tying in with this, P&G executives have also made the decision to sell off around 40 beauty global brands to fragrance and color cosmetic player Coty with a price tag of over $12 billion, a decision that will slim down the portfolio and make it simpler to manage.

Also speaking at the investor conference was P&G CFO Jon Moeller, who revealed that the new management direction would allow it to be more competitive in markets beyond North America.

Better prepared for emerging markets

In particular he referred to China, where the company’s performance has been on the wane, as smaller and more proactive players have carved out more market share.

“In many ways we looked at China little bit too much as a developing market, as opposed to the most discerning consumers in the world,”​ Moeller said at the event.

Last July P&G announced that Taylor would be promoted from his position of Group President of Global Beauty, Grooming and Health Care, to succeed A.G. Lafley as the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and he took on the role in November.

Taylor is a P&G veteran

Taylor had been with the consumer goods firm for 35 years, working in many business units including Baby Care, Family Care, Hair Care, and Home Care, before leading the Beauty business most recently.

He took over from A.G. Lafley, who returned to the company as CEO in 2013 having previously served in the role from 2000-2009.

Lafley is now P&G’s Executive Chairman, leading the Board of Directors, and providing advice and counsel to Taylor and P&G leadership on Company and business strategies, portfolio choices, and organization decisions.

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