June 14, 2001
By Jack Neff
CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- After overseeing sweeping changes in the marketing efforts and agency relations of the world's largest advertiser in recent years, Procter & Gamble Co. Global Marketing and Government Relations Officer Bob Wehling will retire in August, it was announced today.
He'll be succeeded by Jim Stengel, currently VP-global strategic planning for baby care, whose career at P&G has included stints working with such brands as Jif peanut butter, Cover Girl cosmetics and Pampers diapers, in addition to work in Eastern Europe.
Unlike Mr. Wehling, 62, whose role also encompassed overseeing P&G's global government relations efforts, Mr. Stengel will focus only on marketing. P&G reported $3.7 billion in global advertising spending last year.
"Bob Wehling has been a true leader and innovator in developing new approaches to the way we market our brands and partner with our advertising agencies. He helped define what being a responsible advertiser means," said A.G. Lafley, president-CEO of P&G, in a prepared statement.
Mr. Wehling, who was traveling to Disney World on a family vacation, could not be reached for comment.
$300 million Viacom deal
Mr. Wehling's most recent achievement at P&G was striking a groundbreaking $300 million multimedia deal with Viacom that spans network, cable and syndication properties in addition to a variety of promotional tie-ins.
He also implemented a sweeping change in P&G's agency compensation structure last year, replacing media commissions with a system giving P&G's roster shops a share of sales for the brands they handle. The new system has helped pave the way for P&G to move into less costly, less TV-centric and more integrated marketing plans, incorporating more interactive, print, event and relationship marketing efforts than the giant marketer had employed in the past.
Also in recent years he has overseen agency realignment for most of P&G's largest brands along global lines and consolidation of P&G's massive U.S. TV and print buying accounts with Bcom3 Group's MediaVest and Starcom units, respectively.
Advocate of family hour TV
The father of six daughters, now all grown, Mr. Wehling became an advocate of restoring family TV programming to the so-called "family hour" of 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. He helped spearhead the Association of National Advertisers' Family Friendly Programming Forum, which earlier this week announced that its script development fund has helped spawn a second prime-time show on AOL Time Warner's WB Network.
His retirement comes as P&G undergoes wrenching changes throughout the organization, including a 17,400-employee global reduction and an ongoing restructuring, further details of which are to be discussed in a New York conference with analysts on Friday.
P&G's goal has been to cut as many jobs as possible through voluntary separations rather than layoffs, and some agency executives and former P&G employees had speculated in recent weeks that Mr. Wehling would retire to help spare others. Mr. Wehling has spent his entire 41-year career at P&G, except for a two-year stint with the U.S. Air Forces.
Besides his work at P&G, he has been involved extensively in civic and philanthropic efforts, including work with Save the Children and the Children's Defense Fund in addition to work with public schools locally and nationally.
Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.