Bob McDonald (businessman)
|8th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs|
July 30, 2014 – January 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Eric Shinseki|
|Succeeded by||David Shulkin|
Robert Alan McDonald
June 20, 1953
Gary, Indiana, U.S.
|Education||United States Military Academy (BS)|
University of Utah (MBA)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1975–1980|
Robert Alan McDonald (born June 20, 1953) served as the eighth United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He is the retired chairman, president, and CEO of Procter & Gamble. In 2014 he became Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Early life and education
McDonald was born on June 20, 1953, in Gary, Indiana, and grew up in Chicago. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975 in the top 2% of his class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. At West Point he served as the Brigade Adjutant for the Corps of Cadets and was awarded the Silver Medal from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army for five years, primarily in the 82nd Airborne Division, attaining the rank of Captain, and earned an MBA from the University of Utah in 1978. Upon leaving the military he received the Meritorious Service Medal.
McDonald joined Procter & Gamble in 1980. He served as a brand manager for Tide from 1984 to 1986. In 1989 he transferred to Toronto to lead P&G's Canadian Laundry business, and moved to the Philippines as General Manager in 1991. In 1995 he became vice president, Laundry & Cleaning Products Asia, and relocated to Japan. A year later in 1996, McDonald became president, Japan Operations, and in 1999, President, Northeast Asia. Two years later he moved to Brussels as president, Global Fabric Care and later President, Global Fabric & Home Care. He was appointed Vice Chairman, Global Operations in 2004 and appointed Chief Operating Officer in July 2007. McDonald became president and Chief Executive on July 1, 2009. He assumed the Chairman of the Board role January 1, 2010.
As COO, McDonald oversaw a $10 billion restructuring plan to make P&G nimbler in emerging markets, and, to implement multiple-category production with factories that simultaneously made products for a number of its global business units. In his final 12 months at the company, McDonald refocused the company on its core markets and products and cut costs to which the company's shares reacted by rising 26%.
Investors criticized McDonald for being too loyal to P&G traditions, being too slow to pursue layoffs and other cuts, and being unable to produce new product innovations, particularly compared to his predecessor and replacement A.G. Lafley. He resigned from P&G on June 30, 2013, following pressure from the company board and activist investors such as Bill Ackman; he was replaced by his predecessor A.G. Lafley, who returned from retirement.
In 2014 McDonald led a community-based task force to help the city of Cincinnati renovate its Museum Center. As a result of this work, the Hamilton County Commissioners added a tax levy known as Issue 8 to the ballot in the fall of 2014 which passed, adding an additional sales tax to assist in paying for the renovations.
McDonald is on the boards of RallyPoint Networks and serves on the Board of Directors of Partnership for Public Service, Audia International, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy, the Boulder Crest Retreat Foundation, and the McCormick Research Institute. McDonald is the founder of the McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character.
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Obama cited McDonald's business background with P&G and experience revitalizing organizations in his decision. Obama said, "[W]hat especially makes Bob the right choice to lead the VA now is his three decades of experience in building and managing one of the world's most recognized companies, Procter & Gamble. The VA is not a business, but it is one of our largest departments... And the workload at the VHA alone is enormous..." Obama added, "Bob is an expert at making organizations better. In his career he's taken over struggling business units... putting an end to what doesn't work; adopting the best practices that do; restructuring, introducing innovations, making operations more efficient and effective. In short, he's about delivering better results."
McDonald was approved by the United States Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the full Senate by unanimous vote.
One of McDonald's first decisions in September 2014 was to increase salaries for physicians and dentists to close the pay gap with the private sector and to make VA an employer of choice. McDonald personally visited several medical schools to recruit new medical personnel in the early months of his tenure at VA. As of June 2015, VA had increased onboard staff by more 12,000 including over 1,000 physicians, 2,700 nurses, and 4,600 other select critical occupations.
A major goal of McDonald was the reduction of homelessness among veterans. During his tenure, McDonald directed the VA to build new housing for disabled and elderly veterans and for female veterans with children. As of June 2019, the "master plan" for a housing first model McDonald wrote remains under construction, to be installed at the West Los Angeles campus of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
McDonald opposed privatization of the VA. "I`ve never met a veteran who wants to privatize the VA," McDonald said. Privatization advocates usually have a stake in privatization, he said. The private sector couldn't absorb the 9 million veterans, with all their comorbidities, in the VA system. The VA trains 70% of the doctors in the country, and has relationships with 1,800 medical schools. Veteran's groups wanted McDonald to stay, but after a long delay, president Donald Trump replaced him with David Shulkin, who also opposed privatization, and was also replaced.
On February 23, 2015, McDonald admitted he misspoke trying to engage a homeless veteran on January 30, 2015, about his serving in the U.S. Army Special Forces, a conversation that was recorded by a CBS television news crew accompanying him during a nationwide count of homeless veterans. "I have no excuse, I was not in the special forces" he told The Huffington Post, which first broke the story. The Huffington Post reported that "special operations forces" includes the Army Rangers and that McDonald "completed Army Ranger training and took courses in jungle, arctic and desert warfare. He qualified as a senior parachutist and airborne jumpmaster, and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until he resigned his commission in 1980. While he earned a Ranger tab designating him as a graduate of Ranger School, he never served in a Ranger battalion or any other special operations unit."
On May 23, 2016, Secretary McDonald stated that Disney does not measure wait times at its amusement parks, arguing that VA wait times are not an important measure. This statement was viewed as both insensitive to patients and incorrect, as Disney does measure wait times. He apologized the next day.[who?]
In July 2020, McDonald was appointed by the George W. Bush Institute as the April and Jay Graham Fellow where he serves as a key member of the Military Service Initiative team. In September 2020, McDonald was selected by presidential nominee Joe Biden to be a member of his transition team's advisory board.
In 2007, McDonald received the inaugural Leadership Excellence Award from the U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard Business Review. He serves on the Board of Directors of Xerox, the McKinsey Advisory Council, and the Singapore International Advisory Council of the Economic Development Board.
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- Profile, periodicalpress.senate.gov; accessed February 24, 2015.
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- "Member Profile: Robert A. McDonald". Horatio Alger Association. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
- Alexander, Antoine (June 30, 2014). "Reports: Former P&G chief Robert McDonald to lead Veterans Affairs". Drug Store News. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
- "University of Utah grad has ambitious plans as new CEO of P&G". Desert News (Associated Press). June 11, 2009. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
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- Reingold, Jennifer (February 25, 2013). "Can P&G's CEO Hang On?". Fortune. 167 (3): 66–75.
- "UPDATE 4-P&G posts solid quarter, gives CEO more breathing room". reuters.com. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
- "Procter & Gamble to unveil restructuring plan this year". bizjournal.com. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
- Edwards, Jim. "P&G CEO Bob McDonald Steps Down After Pressure From Bill Ackman, Activist Investor". businessinsider.com. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
- Jr, Richard A. Oppel (June 30, 2014). "V.A. Nominee McDonald Faced Criticism at Procter & Gamble". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- Isidore, Chris. "Ackman wins, P&G dumps CEO". CNNMoney. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- "Return of P&G's former CEO puts his reputation at stake | Seattle Times Newspaper". old.seattletimes.com. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
- "Robert A. McDonald retiring from P&G". May 23, 2013.
- The Enquirer. "Bob McDonald ready for next act". www.cincinnati.com. The Enquirer. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
- The News Record. "Union terminal levy passes". www.newsrecord.org. The News Record. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
- "Bob McDonald, Former VA Secretary and P&G CEO, Joins RallyPoint Board of Directors". Globe Newswire. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
- "'Secretary Bob' joins Partnership for Public Service board". Federal Times. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
- "Quotient Technology Names Robert McDonald to Board of Directors". BusinessWire. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
- "Bob McDonald, Former VA Secretary and P&G CEO, Joins Boulder Crest". News Wire. Retrieved January 8, 2021.
- "Spotlight on Leaders". NY Times Education. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
- Nelson, Colleen McCain; Ng, Serena. "Former Procter & Gamble CEO Tapped as New VA Secretary". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
- McDonald nominated as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, whitehouse.gov; accessed February 24, 2015.
- "Remarks by the President at Nomination of Robert McDonald as Secretary of Veterans Affairs". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved March 31, 2016 – via National Archives.
- Senate committee unanimously supports McDonald confirmation as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, veterans.senate.gov; accessed February 24, 2015.
- Wax-Thibodeaux, Emily (September 17, 2014). "VA plans to offer salary boost to attract new doctors". Retrieved March 25, 2018.
- "VA Making Progress to Improve Service for Veterans" (PDF). Retrieved September 30, 2020.
- Denkmann, Libby (June 5, 2019). "Veteran Homelessness Has Barely Budged In LA. Here's Why That's A Win". LAist. Archived from the original on April 29, 2020. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (February 16, 2020). "As Homelessness Plagues Los Angeles, Success Comes for Veterans". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 2, 2020.
- Los Angeles (May 5, 2015). "Mayor Garcetti Celebrates Opening of Women Veteran Housing Program". Office of the Mayor of Los Angeles. Los Angeles. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- Jackson withdraws from nomination for VA Secretary. Interview with Robert McDonald, former secretary. By Rachel Maddow. The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC. April 26, 2018
- Huffington Post. "VA Secretary Robert McDonald Falsely Claimed He Served In Special Forces". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
- Washington Post. "Disney Remark". Retrieved May 23, 2016.
- "VA Secretary 'Deeply Regrets' Wait Time Remarks". ABC News. May 24, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
- George W. Bush Presidential Center. "Bush Institute Announces Endowed Fellows to Advance Mission and Broaden Expertise". bushcenter.org. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
- "Biden expands transition team, adding key campaign allies and top Obama-Biden policy hands". CNN. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
- RecordOnline. "West Point unveils statue of Grant". www.recordonlilne.com. Times Herald-Record. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
- "Robert McDonald, Director since: 2005". www.xerox.com.
- "Bob McDonald - Thayer Development Group". www.thayerleaderdevelopment.com.
- "International Advisory Council". www.edb.gov.sg.
- "Diane McDonald: VA Secretary Robert McDonald's Wife (bio, wiki, photos)". Dailyentertainmentnews.com. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
| United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs