P&G's troubles start in the corner office
CEO Bob McDonald must be held accountable for a string of poor quarterly results.
Why can't Bob McDonald be held accountable for what's happening at Procter & Gamble (PG)? Why can't the decline of this great company be placed at his feet?
A lot of people who write and talk about business do not, I believe, understand the importance of a CEO to an enterprise. They believe some companies can't really be affected in significant ways by the person at the helm.
We have seen companies destroyed or cultures wrecked by the individuals who run them. Did anyone think Ken Lewis didn't wreck Bank of America (BAC)? How about Chuck Price at Citigroup (C)? Bob Nardelli at Home Depot (HD)? Andrea Jung at Avon Products (AVP)? I mean, these people were catastrophic. Some took years to rot out their enterprises. But some did it with alacrity.
So how about McDonald? He has run P&G for three years, during which there have been multiple disappointing quarters. Perhaps we could say McDonald inherited a bad hand from A.G. Lafley, but I don't know a soul who thought Lafley did anything but a terrific job.
Say he did, though. Isn't three years enough time to evaluate and fix what Lafley left?
I think so.
There is a reluctance to hold businesspeople accountable for mistakes and disappointments that I find laughable. If this were pro football or baseball, we would have fired McDonald right after the last season ended. Americans are debating firing the president of the United States right now, and I would argue that that is a harder job than McDonald has, especially given that President Barack Obama inherited a much worse hand than McDonald did.
Yes, it is true that emerging markets have slowed and domestic markets have turned price-sensitive. But I have bad news for McDonald fans. The emerging markets have slowed and the domestic markets have turned price-sensitive for Colgate-Palmolive (CL), too.
During the McDonald era, Procter & Gamble has gone from $53 to $60. Colgate has gone from $70 to $100. Identical challenges, very different results.
If we do not care about performance over three years, then McDonald is the right guy at the helm. If we do not care about the stock price over three years, then McDonald is the right guy at the helm.
But isn't that like not caring about whether your team wins or whether you are better off under this president than someone else?
I guess I am stuck with caring about the health of the enterprise as measured by whether the quarterly seasons are disappointing and whether the playoffs are made.
If you don't care, then McDonald should just be made CEO for life. What difference does it make if you don't care about those yardsticks? I mean, could we trade the whole PG team in?
But maybe you start with the coach.
I think that's a better and more realistic bet.
Don't forget that Andy Grove, one of the greatest CEOs of our time, the man who built Intel (INTC), wrote in "Only the Paranoid Survive," the best business book I have ever read, that a quarter is a reasonable judgment of how an enterprise is doing. Not too long, not too short.
Last I looked, by that measure, we've got a slew of quarters with which to judge McDonald. And he has failed and failed and failed.
It's enough already.
Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust and has no positions in the stocks mentioned.
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cramer= gold at 1900
oil at 105
mens warehouse gap down
slb at 80
aa at 18
etc etc etc..........yet people still believe.....the facts are being ignored by these idiots
Of course, Cramer, you omitted Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, Obama's buddy and yours. Oh, and, how about Obama, the worst in history. Unbelievable.
I certainly understand why people are saying what they are saying about P & G but I would ask the following:
1.) Why is P & G expanding their plants?
2.) P & G IS addressing safety concerns so why say violations are being swept under the carpet?
3.) P & G is paying their suppliers on time. Is Colgate?
4.) P & G participates with minority hiring and promotions. Does Colgate?
P & G is a class act and I hope it continues to be. I could careless about their stock price. I like their products and the way they do business.
Comparing P & G to Colgate, which company employs the most Americans? If you want cheap then enjoy not having a job since it went overseas.
It could be due to the "gold" flakes that they have been adding to Tide laundry soap. I think the price has doubled in the last year!
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