P&G Exec Shuffle Sets Up CEO Race

Weeks After Lafley Returns, Contest to Succeed Him Gets Clearer

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Just two weeks after bringing back Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley, Procter & Gamble Co. has identified frontrunners in the race to succeed him, giving a set of six executives in their early to mid 50s direct reports to Mr. Lafley, 65.

The moves don't change P&G's structure dramatically, as many of the executives largely retain their direct leadership. And none of the moves are promotions, exactly, since the executives remain group presidents.

P&G spokesman Paul Fox said the moves already were in the works under departing Chairman-CEO Bob McDonald and have the full support of Mr. Lafley and the board.

Among the P&G group presidents adding new responsibilities are:

Martin Riant
Martin Riant

Martin Riant, 54, group-president of global baby, feminine and family care, adds the latter two businesses to his prior leadership of baby care, including P&G's biggest brand, the $10 billion behemoth Pampers. He'll continue to be based in Singapore.

Deb Henretta, 52, group president-global beauty, adds hair care to the global skin care responsibilities she took on last year. Though she was previously based in Singapore, she's now based in Cincinnati.

David Taylor, 55, who had been group president-global home care, takes on a far bigger and more strategic business as group president-global health and grooming, which includes such brands as Gillette, Crest, Oral-B and Iams. He'll continue to be based in Cincinnati.

Giovani Ciserani, 50, the youngest of the group, becomes group president-global fabric and health care, adding such home care brands as Swiffer and Febreze to a portfolio that already included the flagship Tide.

Melanie Healey
Melanie Healey

Melanie Healey, 52, remains group president-North America, but will now report to Mr. Lafley as well as Vice Chairman-Global Operations Werner Geissler, 60, a P&G vice chair. In a statement, P&G said Ms. Healey reporting directly to Mr. Lafley "reflects the size and impact of the North America market to P&G's business," and that Mr. Geissler will now have "particular focus on Western Europe and developing markets."

P&G's other vice chairman, Dimitri Panayatopoulos, 61, to whom the other four group presidents reported, will retain the vice chairman title, but as of the new fiscal year on July 1 will become advisor to Mr. Lafley.

P&G will report its financial results for the four new business-unit groupings as segments starting with the new fiscal year, so results for all four executives will be easier to distinguish. Though P&G doesn't report results quarterly for Ms. Healey's North America unit, which doesn't have an external profit-and-loss statement, it does report sales results for the business annually.

All five have their work cut out for them. The only P&G business unit to gain share over the past three quarters, according to the company's quarterly reports, has been the global grooming business – and that's one for which P&G just shifted global advertising duties on the Gillette shaving brand from BBDO to Grey. P&G's U.S. sales fell 5% during the first three years of Mr. McDonald's watch as CEO, and only recently turned in the first positive share month in more than two years, according to Nielsen data from Sanford C. Bernstein.

P&G also reported another group president, Jorge Mesquita, is leaving the company to pursue outside interests. He couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Charles Pierce, 56, now group president-global oral care, will take on Mr. Mesquita's duties overseeing new business creation, which Mr. Mesquita was assigned to lead only last year. Mr. Pierce will also report both to Mr. Lafley in his new role and to Mr. Taylor in his old one.

Another P&G group president, Steven Bishop, 49, will continue to oversee feminine care but now will report to Mr. Riant rather than Mr. Panayatopoulos.

The changes collectively "will strengthen our focus on go-to-market excellence in our core developed and developing markets," Mr. Lafley said in a statement, and "help us operate better and faster as one unified team to win."

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