Procter brings back former boss

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Procter & Gamble has brought back AG Lafley to run the world’s largest household products maker, replacing Bob McDonald immediately in the midst of a major restructuring.

Mr Lafley is taking on the roles of chairman, president and chief executive officer, effective immediately, while Mr 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 $10bn restructuring programme 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 programme going,” Mr Lafley said.

There was no single reason for Mr McDonald’s retirement, Mr Lafley added.

Mr McDonald, who had been Mr Lafley’s hand-picked successor, was available to talk.

While the suddenness of the change was a shock, the move to bring back Mr Lafley was not, said Matt McCormick, a portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel in Cincinnati.

“The board has a known quantity in Lafley. He knows everyone and now that Procter is on firmer footing, it expects Lafley to be able to push the company and its stock price higher.”