Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH
As a P&G associate ad manager in 1954, the former Richardson-Vicks executive began informing the American Dental Association of Crest toothpaste's fluoride-based anti-cavity research. In 1960, after the ADA awarded the toothpaste its first seal of approval, Crest surged to category leadership behind a huge, "Look Ma, no cavities" ad effort. In 1981, as P&G president, Smale demonstrated his commitment to new-product development, not just line extensions, by putting 14 new products into test and investing $2 billion in acquisitions that turned P&G into the nation's largest personal care products marketer. Next, Smale turned his attention to General Motors Corp., where, as board chairman, he designed a major restructuring program.
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