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(July 12, 2001) -- Procter & Gamble Co. announced today that Wolfgang Berndt, 58, president-global fabric and home care, will retire Sept. 1. His successor, Robert A. McDonald, 48, has been elected to assume the post immediately.

The move, widely anticipated since Mr. McDonald was promoted to president-global fabric care last year, is the latest stop in his rapid rise during the past two years. Long seen by company observers and insiders as a key protege of P&G President-CEO A.G. Lafley, Mr. McDonald will now head P&G's largest global business and becomes a front-runner to ultimately succeed Mr. Lafley as CEO.

Only two years ago, Mr. McDonald was VP overseeing P&G's Japan and Korea market development organization, but he has leapfrogged several senior executives to lead the largest of P&G's three global business units. Mr. McDonald was recruited to Asia by Mr. Lafley when he headed P&G's Asian business prior to the company's restructuring along global category lines in2000.

Mr. Berndt, whose career has included heading P&G's North American and European businesses, was closely associated with former P&G Chairman-CEO Durk Jager, who retired last year in what's widely viewed as a forced resignation.

"Wolfgang Berndt leaves a legacy of accomplishments that touch virtually every part of our company," Mr. Lafley said in a prepared statement. -- Jack Neff

Copyright July 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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