Will Lafley’s return have P&G laughing again?
I'm a big believer in the power of leadership, especially from what I call a "Brand CEO". This is a leader who doesn't just talk about the brand, they ARE the brand. One such CEO was AG Lafley, who led P&G during a highly successful period during most of the 00's.
But can one guy really influence the fortunes of a whole corporation? We'll look at that in this post. We'll look in next week's post at why a Brand CEO like AG Lafley can have such an impact.
Well, here are a couple of examples from earlier posts. First, back in 2008 I suggested here that the return of Howard Shultz to lead Starbucks would lead to a turn-around. The stock price chart is below, with the red box pre Shultz's return, and the blue box after. I backed my post by buying shares at $15 🙂 If only I'd added a few zeros on the end of the cheque I wrote 🙁
And here's another. Back in 2008 again I posted here on the arrival of ex P&G-er Paul Poleman and Unilever. I thought this could create a potent combination of P&G focus and efficiency plus Unilever's intuition and creativity. The stock price chart is below, with the red box Patrick Cescau, and the blue box Poleman. Again, the results speak for themselves. Again, I backed the prediction by buying shares at £1500 (but again, not enough of them).
Back to P&G, you can see below the CEO effect in action at P&G. It appointed Dutch Maverick Durk Jaeger as CEO in the late 90's, first non-US CEO. He pushed the company to both accelerate innovation, and make it more radical. Core products were neglected, market shares suffered. According to the book Pay Without Performance during his 17 months in the job the share price of P&G dropped 50%, wiping $70billion off the value of the company (see this blip in the share price on the chart below in red).
Then came the AG years in blue, a period of stellar growth for P&G. This is followed by three years of relative stagnation under Bob McDonald in green.
In conclusion, a Brand CEO CAN have a real imapct on a business. We'll look in more detail at why AG Lafley is a strong leader in next week's post.
Until then, who's off to buy shares in P&G?