Steady as she goes at P&G with new CEO Taylor – but is the company actually going anywhere?

Procter & Gamble, still the world’s biggest advertiser with a spend of $9bn and $500m of agency fees (which it’s not very happy about) has a new broom in charge – or half a broom anyway.

15-year company veteran David Taylor (below), who began as a factory manager but then moved into marketing, is taking over as CEO from AG Laffley. Laffley remains as executive chairman so, in effect, it’s a double act.

P&G is in the process of downsizing, ditching or selling about 100 brands. It recently formed a $12.5bn joint venture with Coty to manage cosmetic brands including Cover Girl, Max Factor and Wella.

So there’s lots going on at the most blue chip of advertisers. The question for Taylor and the company as a whole is, is it making the company any better? Sales and profits are plateauing at best and there aren’t too many signs that the company really has an alternative vision.

Unilever CEO Paul Pohlman (a former P&G exec) has hitched his star to a ‘sustainability’ platform and there are signs that it’s working, particularly with Dove. P&G has recently enjoyed a great PR boost from its Always #AtLikeAGirl campaign by Leo Burnett but its far more adventurous approach to advertising (if the Always campaign counts as advertising) has yet to reach the bottom line.

Some analysts think P&G would do better bringing in the top exec from outside. Coty is being driven by former Reckitt Benckiser CEO Bart Becht. With Taylor sharing the helm with Laffley (who’s just finishing his second stint as CEO) it looks like more of the same.

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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.