Bienvenido a Cincinnati! P&G Shifts Hispanic HQ

Move From Puerto Rico Shows Unit's Importance but Causes Exit of Key Exec

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BATAVIA (AdAge.com) -- The good news: Hispanic marketing's become so much a part of the corporate fabric at Procter & Gamble Co. that it's coming home to roost at the company's Cincinnati corporate headquarters. That's also the bad news, at least for some of the Hispanic marketing executives whose unit is moving from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Edgar Sandoval: Exec is taking on duties that were previously handled by a pair of VPs.
Edgar Sandoval: Exec is taking on duties that were previously handled by a pair of VPs.

The country's largest spender on Hispanic marketing is consolidating its top North American and multicultural marketing posts and moving its Hispanic-marketing unit alongside the rest of the multicultural-marketing organization in Cincinnati. That essentially will integrate Hispanic marketing -- once treated as its own "special" discipline at P&G -- with both African-American marketing and the broader marketing effort. P&G spends $170 million on Hispanic marketing annually.

During the next 12 months, P&G will move about 40 marketers out of Puerto Rico, where its Hispanic-marketing unit has been since it was founded in 1999.

Dilemma in Hispanic marketing
The move underscores a dilemma in Hispanic marketing that goes beyond P&G. The major players are all struggling with whether to treat Hispanic marketing as part of the whole or as a separate entity. Hyundai, for example, recently restructured so its general-market and Hispanic marketing both report to one person, Chris Perry, director-marketing communications. But Hyundai also is hiring its first multicultural-marketing manager to report to Mr. Perry.

At P&G, Edgar Sandoval becomes general manager-Multicultural Business Development Organization and North America marketing, taking on duties that had been handled by two vice presidents one rank above him, including Graciela Eleta de Cacho, who founded P&G's multicultural-marketing unit eight years ago. Ms. Eleta, who's leaving the company Dec. 31, said she declined an offer for another position in Cincinnati.

"She'll be very much missed," said a P&G spokesman, who called Ms. Eleta a pioneer in multicultural marketing. A few of the other Hispanic marketers have opted to stay in San Juan to work on P&G's Puerto Rico business, he said, but Hispanic marketing is "such a crucial part of the business that it's become important to have everyone involved in one place [with other marketers] in Cincinnati."

Mr. Sandoval has also assumed some duties handled by Ted Woehrle, P&G's former VP-North America marketing, who last month became chief marketing officer of Newell Rubbermaid.

The Spanish-speaking Mr. Sandoval was most recently general manager for household care in P&G's North America market development organization and, like most of P&G's ethnically Hispanic marketers, has spent most of his career working on the general market. But he was previously a brand manager in multicultural marketing and heads the company's Hispanic employee steering committee.

Why Puerto Rico
Most marketers have their Hispanic operations either at corporate headquarters or in major Hispanic centers in the continental U.S. P&G put its unit in Puerto Rico for several reasons, including that it was a key Hispanic market.

"We are able to not only recruit but also retain and develop a very strong Hispanic organization, which I am not as sure would be the case if we were located in Cincinnati," Ms. Eleta said in a 2001 interview with Advertising Age.

The move stems in part from how much Hispanic marketing and Cincinnati have changed in six years, the spokesman said. The area's small Hispanic population (around 2%) is growing rapidly (30% or more in most counties in the region between 2000 and 2006, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates). Nationally, too, the Hispanic population is growing fastest outside the largest cities.
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