P&G switches focus from Cincinnati to the world

Procter & Gamble is the world’s biggest consumer goods company but its focus has always been firmly centred on the US, symbolised by its monolithic HQ in Cincinnati.

Now though CEO Bob McDonald says the company is swtching its focus – gradually -to the wider world, trying to boost its 33 per cent of sales to emerging markets outside the US to closer to 50 per cent, in line with competitiors Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser and Colgate-Palmolive.

McDonald also says he’s cutting back senior management posts by 10-15 per cent to try to make the company more nimble and also to increase its (pretty satisfactory) margins from about 22 per cent.

One of the strengths of P&G has always been its home market dominance and it’s clear that McDonald (pictured) is hardly launching a revolution here (he says the management cutbacks will be achieved by natural wastage).

But 19 of P&G’s planned slate of 20 new factories are being built in places to service emerging markets so the developing world can expect a tidal wave of Pantene shampoo, Crest toothpaste and Gillette Fusion razors to be washing over them some time soon.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.