A.G. Lafley

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A.G. Lafley
A.G. Lafley Company Photo.jpg
Alan George Lafley

(1947-06-13) June 13, 1947 (age 75)[1]
Alma materHamilton College
Harvard Business School
Occupation(s)Executive Chairman, Procter & Gamble

Alan George "A. G." Lafley (born June 13, 1947) is an American businessman who led consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble (P&G) for two separate stints, from 2000 to 2010 and again from 2013 to 2015, during which he served as chairman, president and CEO.[2] In 2015, he stepped down as CEO to become executive chairman of P&G, eventually retiring in June 2016.[3]

As CEO, Lafley was called "one of the most lauded CEOs in history"[3] and is credited with revitalizing P&G[4] under the mantra “Consumer is Boss,”[5] with a focus on billion dollar brands like Crest, Tide, and Pampers.[6] But he also brought in several new brands, like Swiffer and Febreze, by merging P&G's internal resources with outside “open” innovation, referred to as Connect + Develop.[7]

Prior to rejoining P&G in 2013, Lafley consulted on business and innovation strategy,[8] advising on CEO succession and executive leadership development, and coaching experienced, new, and potential CEOs.[9]

Early years and education[edit]

Lafley grew up in Keene, New Hampshire.[10] He graduated from Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois, and earned an A.B. from Hamilton College in 1969. In 1970, after beginning a doctoral program at the University of Virginia,[11] he took a commission with the U.S. Navy as a supply officer during the Vietnam War stationed in Japan. Afterwards, he studied at Harvard Business School, receiving his M.B.A. in 1977.[12] He joined P&G upon his graduation.

Career with P&G[edit]

Lafley steadily moved up through the ranks, leading some of P&G's laundry and cleaning businesses. Along the way, he was responsible for some of P&G's biggest innovations, including Liquid Tide and Tide with Bleach.[10]

In 1994, Lafley returned to Japan to head all of P&G's Asian operations.[13] In addition to repairing Japanese sales, he helped build P&G's business in China from less than $90 million to nearly $1 billion in sales. In 1999, P&G named Lafley to head the fast-growing beauty business as well as all of North American sales, which was its largest single market at the time.

Lafley took a similar leadership path to the P&G boardroom as Durk Jager; learning the soap and laundry businesses, going through Japan, and eventually leading all Asian operations, then returning to the US to lead the beauty business and ultimately North American sales. The Dutch-born Jager became the CEO in 1999, at a time when P&G was in the midst of a massive corporate restructuring that started in September 1998,[14] which did not go well. In June 1999, Jager announced the layoff of 15,000 employees. In January 2000, news leaked that P&G was considering the acquisition of pharmaceutical company Warner–Lambert (which was eventually sold instead to Pfizer a few months later). Still, P&G stock lost about 48 percent of its value in the first three months of 2000.[15] As a result, Jager had the shortest CEO tenure in P&G history, resigning and was quickly replaced with Lafley in June 2000.[16]

With Lafley leading the company for all of the 2000s, P&G more than doubled sales since the beginning of the decade. During that time, the company's portfolio of billion-dollar brands grew from 10 to 24 (including former brands Folgers and Actonel)[17] and the number of brands with sales between $500 million and $1 billion increased five-fold with Lafley at P&G's helm.[18]

On average, P&G's annual organic sales grew 5%, annual core earnings-per-share grew 12%, and free cash flow productivity averaged 112% a year since 2001.[19] Further, during Lafley's tenure, the Company's market capitalization more than doubled, making P&G one of the five most valuable companies in the U.S. and among the 10 most valuable companies in the world.[20]

Lafley is credited with making P&G a more consumer-driven and externally focused company—and with shaping a far more diverse, open, curious and courageous, connected and collaborative culture in which "innovation is everyone’s job."[21]

Recognition and thought leadership[edit]

Lafley is broadly recognized for his business leadership. He was awarded "CEO of the Year 2006" by Chief Executive Magazine[22] and the Peter G. Peterson Award for Business Statesmanship presented by the CED in 2009.[23] In 2010, Lafley received the Edison Achievement Award, in recognition of his contributions to innovation, marketing, and human-centered design.[24] He was also recognized with the 2010 Hall of Achievement Award, the highest honor given by the Grocery Manufacturers Association.[25] In 2011, Lafley was awarded the Warren Bennis Award for Leadership Excellence[26] and inducted into the IndustryWeek Manufacturing Hall of Fame.[27] In 2012, Lafley was inducted into the prestigious Advertising Hall of Fame.[28]

In 2004, Lafley received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement during the International Achievement Summit in Chicago.[29][30]

In 2008, Lafley and strategy consultant Ram Charan published The Game Changer, an operating manager's guide to turning innovation into strategic advantage. Business Week selected The Game Changer as one of the year's "Top Ten Business Books." Lafley has also authored several critically acclaimed articles for Harvard Business Review, including “What Only the CEO Can Do” (May, 2009),[31] “Executive Pay: Time for CEOs to Take a Stand” (May, 2010),[32] “I Think of My Failures as a Gift” (April 2011),[33] and “The Art and Science of Finding the Right CEO” (October, 2011)[34] co-authored with notable author and leadership consultant, Noel M. Tichy.

In 2010, Lafley was honored with an Edison Achievement Award for his commitment to innovation throughout his career.

In 2013, Lafley and Roger Martin wrote Playing to Win, a practical approach to winning strategy—explaining what strategy is for (winning) and what it's about (choice).[35]


  1. ^ "P&G Biography". Archived from the original on 2014-10-15. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
  2. ^ "A.G. Lafley to Become Executive Chairman".
  3. ^ a b "P&G Chairman A.G. Lafley Steps Down—For Good, This Time?". Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  4. ^ A. G. Lafley, Alumni Achievement Awards, Harvard Business School
  5. ^ Turning the Tide at P&G, US News &amp World Report, 22 October 2006 Archived January 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "P&G: New and Improved" Archived January 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, BusinessWeek, 7 July 2003
  7. ^ "P&G's New Innovation Model", Harvard Business School, 20 March 2006
  8. ^ "Business Icons Unite at Elite Leadership Program". Archived from the original on 2012-07-16.
  9. ^ "G100 Advisors". Archived from the original on 2008-09-05.
  10. ^ a b "Speaker Bio". UCLA Anderson. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  11. ^ Marketplace.org A.G. Lafley's Bio Retrieved January 23, 2012
  12. ^ A.G. Lafley, MBA 1977, 2004 Alumni Achievement Award Recipient, Harvard Business School Alumni Bulletin, January 1, 2004, accessed October 15, 2017
  13. ^ "A.G. Lafley's bio". Marketplace. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2020-03-18.
  14. ^ ICMR. Restructuring P&G. Case #BSTR068. 2003.
  15. ^ "P&G CEO quits amid woes". money.cnn.com/. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  16. ^ "12 CEOs in 12 Decades" (PDF). PG.com. P&G. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  17. ^ "P&G sells pharmacy business for $3.1 billion".
  18. ^ "Speaker Biographies".
  19. ^ "Procter amp; Gamble Chairman to Retire".
  20. ^ "Procter amp; Gamble: At a Glance". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 5, 2010.
  21. ^ "A must read book The Game-Changer by A. G. Lafley and Ram Charan". Archived from the original on 2009-10-14.
  22. ^ "2006 CEO of the Year Award: AG Lafley, Procter & Gamble CEO". Archived from the original on 2009-11-03.
  23. ^ "Peter G. Peterson Award for Business Statesmanship: AG Lafley". Archived from the original on 2010-07-15.
  24. ^ "Chairman of P&G, A.G. Lafley, and President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Susan Hockfield, Awarded Prestigious Edison Achievement Award".
  25. ^ "Grocery Manufacturers Association Recognizes Former Procter & Gamble Executive A.G. Lafley with Hall of Achievement Award".
  26. ^ "Anthony Von Mandl and A.G. Lafley Receive the 2011 Warren Bennis Award for Leadership Excellence".
  27. ^ "IndustryWeek 2011 Hall of Fame: In a Class by Themselves"
  28. ^ "The Coca-Cola Company, Seven Legendary Individual Inductees Headline 63rd Advertising Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2012-03-08.
  29. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  30. ^ "2004 Summit Highlights". American Academy of Achievement.
  31. ^ Lafley, A. G. (May 2009). "What Only the CEO Can Do". Harvard Business Review.
  32. ^ Lafley, A. G. (May 2010). "Executive Pay: Time for CEOs to Take a Stand". Harvard Business Review.
  33. ^ Dillon, Karen (April 2011). "I Think of My Failures as a Gift". Harvard Business Review.
  34. ^ Lafley, A. G.; Tichy, Noel (October 2011). "The Art and Science of Finding the Right CEO". Harvard Business Review.
  35. ^ "Are You Playing to Win – Or Just Playing?". Harvard Business Review. 28 April 2016.

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