Saturday, June 17, 2000

   P&G president takes spotlight at reunion




By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CHICAGO — It was planned as a reunion for hundreds of former Procter & Gamble employees, many of whom fill the highest-ranking positions at the nation's Fortune 500 companies.

        It turned into a love fest and coronation for A.G. Lafley, P&G's new president and chief executive, who arrived unexpectedly Thursday night at the Hilton Chicago & Towers downtown.

        There, more than 200 former “Proctoids,” as they sarcastically refer to themselves, had gathered in the hotel ballroom to reminisce and exchange business cards and a few laughs.

        But the focus turned to Mr. Lafley as soon as he walked into the room where the bluest of the corporate blue-bloods lined up to offer congratulations.

        “When he walked the halls at Procter & Gamble, people who met him said, "I knew he'd be the president of this company,'” Scott Cook, a former P&G marketing director and founder of software giant Intuit, said. “I was one of them.”

        That was a sentiment shared by Larry Haggart, a P&G alumnus and executive vice president of MRA Advertising - Production Support Services Inc. in Cincinnati.

        “I came up with A.G. on Tide,” Mr. Haggart said. “He's a smart, incisive thinker. I knew he was destined for great things.”

        Mr. Lafley is the first CEO to attend an alumni reunion, organizers said.

        He returned many of the handshakes and warm wishes offered him with hugs and pats on the back, staying true to his professed nature as a “hands-on, high-touch” manager.

        Therein lies the difference, many of those in attendance said, between Mr. Lafley and the man he recently succeeded as head of the “old soap works” — his affectionate reference to the company's beginnings as a soap maker.

        At one point during the festivities, Mr. Cook released the results of an informal survey of those attending the reunion.

        The survey found that the average net worth of former P&G employees who voluntarily resigned from the company was $5.5 million.

        But the average net worth of those who were “coached out,” or fired, was $6.2 million.

        “So Durk, things are looking up,” Mr. Cook said in a reference to what many insiders believe was Mr. Jager's forced retirement.

'Nice guy' Pepper begins to right P&G ship
-    P&G president takes spotlight at reunion
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