Distinguished Speaker Series: David Taylor, CEO, The Procter & Gamble Company

Distinguished Speaker Series: David Taylor, CEO, The Procter & Gamble Company

– Good evening. It’s my pleasure to introduce tonight’s Distinguished
Speaker Series guest, David Taylor. David was born in the great city of Charlotte, North Carolina,
and he is an avid supporter of this state and the Duke community. David is a graduate of Duke’s
Pratt School of Engineering. He serves on the Fuqua Board of Visitors. And David and his wife, Marsha, are the proud parents of over
16 years of Duke tuition. (audience laughs) David’s loyalty and commitment have been a theme throughout his life. He has built an impressive 37-year career at Procter & Gamble. David started out of college
on the manufacturing line, and has since worked his
way to his current position as Chairman and CEO. Along the way, David has held positions in product supply and marketing, while also taking international roles in Hong Kong and Geneva. His brand experience extends
across multiple categories like Pampers, Head &
Shoulders, and Swiffer. As CEO, David has recently navigated activist investor interest, and has been directly involved in the company’s environmental
and social initiatives, including an emphasis on gender equality. David’s passion for serving others extends outside of his work at P&G, where has spent eight years on the board of America’s Second Harvest, which is one of the largest
food and security nonprofits in the U.S., including
two years as Chairman. Furthermore, David has worked
with Freestore Foodbank, a small local food
pantry, for over 12 years. As you can tell, David is a
true leader of consequence. On behalf of Fuqua, please join me in welcoming Mr. David Taylor. (audience applauding)
– Thank you. – So David, welcome. Welcome back home,
– Thank you. – and it is fantastic to
have you so deeply involved with Duke and the business school, and it’s a special treat
to have you back today. – Thank you. – And thank you all for showing up. It’s great to see this audience here. – Question, free pizza,
right before, or right after? We’re not sure which one. (David and audience laugh) – Yeah, I smelled some
pizza earlier, but okay. So David. (audience laughing)
(Bill laughs) We heard kind of the beginning
and ending of your career, and I think what’s interesting to many people in this room, is they’re more at the
front end of their careers, or midpoint of their careers, is thinking through this process of how do you get to be CEO? And one of the things that’s very clear from your career, is that it’s not necessarily
a linear vertical, – No.
– climb. And so you started off on the
manufacturing side of things, and what was your dream job? – I started as a shift team manager in Greenville, North Carolina, and my aspiration then was to one day be the plant manager
of that whole facility. That sounded like a
really cool thing to do. – And so you were a fast
riser in that world, and you did become a plant manager. – Mm-hmm, nine years later. – Nine years later. – Four moves later,
four plants later, yes. – Plant manager. And then you made a decision
to go backwards in your career. So tell me, why did
you decide to step back instead of continuing to go
down the path you were on? – I enjoyed the manufacturing
role a great deal. The people there were wonderful. It was technically challenging, it was an opportunity to
build a large organization. It was over 1,000 people. But during that assignment, I
got to see a little bit more about the total company. As a plant manager, you
got to go to Cincinnati and see in some of the company meetings, the commercial side of the business. So that’s the first time I was
exposed in a meaningful way to marketing, to sales, to the
broader business community, and it was very interesting to me. I was curious about
consumers and customers. And one of the senior managers
visited the plant one time, and said, what would you
like to do long-term? And I said, I’d love the chance, one day, to lead one of these
businesses for the U.S., which in our company, at that time, would have been a vice president. And he said, okay, that’s good. If you’d like to do that, though, you need to really understand consumers and customers and marketing
and brand building, and the best way to do that is to start as an assistant brand manager, which for those of you
that are interviewing, is the entry-level position for a marketing organization. I was 11 years with the company, I was a plant manager of 1200 folks, you’re a big fish in a little pond, and then you want to, I’ll go back and start with other
new hires in marketing. And I said, yes. And it was frankly a wonderful decision, even though the first year was probably the biggest lesson
in humility I’ve ever had, because you come back, and
you move from being leading, and knowing, to learning, and it was a fundamental life lesson, which is those that stay
in learning mode, to me, position themself very well to advance. Those that start to believe they know limit the opportunity
to learn from others. So by going back as an
assistant brand manager, I had the ability to learn without putting the company at risk, or putting my career at risk, and it was fabulous to learn quickly about the consumer and the customer. I spent 30 days at an agency training in New York, as a creative. I’m an engineer by training. Creative was an out-of-body
experience for me. (audience laughs)
(David chuckles) I learned very clearly that
I would never be a creative, and came out with great respect (Bill laughs)
for what the creatives did. I understand, and
understood and got to see a very nonlinear way to think. When we got stuck on a project, they’d say, let’s stop, and we’d go walk around Central Park, and I’d say, don’t we have work to do? And they’d say, we’ll
come back and get to it, and we may work that night. But I got to see people that
got to a wonderful outcome in a very different way than I did. So that entire first few years, to me, gave me a wonderful
foundation on consumers, then did sales training, and to me, became an accelerator for
the rest of my career. – So one of the things that you picked up along the way, is really
outstanding communication skills, and you seem to understand
that communication is more than just speaking. In fact, you once told me something that I’ve never forgotten, which is something that
you’ll say to others if you don’t think they’re
really paying attention, which is, are you listening? Or are you waiting to speak?
– Speak, yes, absolutely. And think about for everybody here, when you’re in a conversation, how much of your time is
formulating your next response, versus thoughtfully listening
to what you’re asking, so that I can try to at
least answer your question or try on the idea you’re sharing. And the fundamental, what
underpins to be the belief in that is a concept called Integrative Thinking, and that is, there’s
often a better, third way. Most of us want to win an argument, and so what we’re doing is
formulating our response to win. The reverse way is to say,
I’m going to understand why you got to the conclusion you did, because I respect you and
believe you are very smart, and so if you’ve got a
different opinion than I do, I could probably benefit
from understanding how you got to where you’ve arrived. And that often means walking
down your ladder of inference to find out what data or
experiences you accessed. And think about the benefit to me, if I surround myself with
people different from me, and I have, to me, the
intelligence to listen to them, I then have this tremendous pool of both facts and experiences I can access to make a better decision instead of trying to
do just what I’ve done. Because what I’ve learned
throughout my assignments, since I moved to different assignments, is how little I know and how much collectively we can get done. None of us are smarter than all of us, and the best leaders I’ve ever worked with are the ones that tapped
into the combined capability of those around them. And with that, they made great decisions, and it often pulls you in
and you want to help somebody that truly listens to you. – So you actually wrote
a blog post recently, – Mm-hmm.
– with that very title, None of Us is Smarter
– Yep, never – Than All of Us.
– smart as all of us, yes. – And so when did that really
start to come home for you, as a mantra to live by? – Two big, to me, experiences
that drove it home. One is early in my career
when I was in manufacturing, at third shift, the line would go down. The line would go down at 2:00 a.m., you had to get it up and running, and I was in a production line that had many very junior employees with a wide range of skills. And none of us had all the skills. Collectively, we could
solve almost anything. And then what really drove it home is when the company asked me to leave the marketing
assignment I was in, in the U.S., and go be a general manager
of a hair care business in Greater China. Never been in the hair care business, never been to Greater China, never been a vice president, said, this has just got to work. This is wonderful, good career planning. So I landed there,
(audience laughs) and what quickly happened was I realized I had certain skills, and collectively, the rest of
the team had different skills. They knew the language,
they knew the culture, they knew the customers. I knew a good bit about the business. I knew a good bit about bringing
groups of people together, and we were able to, to me, do very well together very quickly, and it illustrated, once again, that if you tap into the
collective experiences of the team, you can accomplish amazing
things pretty quickly, and bring the team together with you. You know, what you want to do is elevate the people that you work with, and what happens is they help elevate your performance as well. – It’s become clear that
there may be expectations around a CEO to take
positions on social issues. – (laughs) Ah, yes. – Or political issues, in different ways. You’ve been more, I would say, proactive than reactive
around some of these issues. You have a real, it was
mentioned in your introduction, you have a real passion for gender equity. – Mm-hmm.
– You’ve been very engaged in terms of thinking about
some of the racial issues – Mm-hmm.
– that we’ve been facing in this country. And so I’m going to
ask that we show a clip called The Talk. If you could run that, and then I’m going to ask you
– Yes. – about where this comes from.
– Okay. – [Mother] Who said that? – The lady at the store. – That is not a compliment. – Listen, it’s an ugly, nasty word, and you are going to hear it. Nothing I can do about that. But you are not going to
let that word hurt you. You hear me? – There are some people who think you don’t deserve the same privileges just because of what you look like. It’s not fair. It’s not. – Remember, you can do anything they can. Difference is, you got
to work twice as hard and be twice as smart. – Come straight home after practice. You got your I.D.? – Yeah.
– In case they stop you. – How’s your rear view?
– We’re good. – You’re good, you see?
– Yeah, we’re good. – Okay.
– Good. – Now, when you get pulled over– – Mom, I’m a good driver. Okay, don’t worry.
– Baby, this is not about you gettin’ a ticket. This is about you not comin’ home. – I’m going to be okay. Right? – Okay, baby.
– Okay. (dramatic piano music) – It’s not fair, but you keep showin’ up. – You are not pretty for a black girl. You are beautiful, period, okay? Don’t ever forget that. (dramatic piano music) (audience applauding) – That’s an incredibly
powerful and emotional clip. Tell me, why did that happen? Where did that come from? – The underpinning of a lot
of our efforts in this space, it comes from our, we’ve created an effort called My Black is Beautiful, and it’s part of an effort we want to better serve
African American consumers in this country. And as we’ve done, what we
do in all of our efforts, is go and listen and learn. There’s dialogues that occur that many of us don’t experience. I don’t experience it. And what we wanted to
do is to have a spot, that to be stimulated conversation, because what we believe is,
dialogue leads to understanding. Understanding can lead
to changed attitudes, and that can change behavior, and ultimately, that could lead to action. There’s a lot of things that have happened in the country over the last couple years, that I think call everybody to question the whole idea of unconscious bias. And it’s not just African Americans. Gender, across many different
dimensions of diversity. And where we can, we
want to build our brand, but also use our voice in a way that stimulates positive dialogue. This stimulated dialogue, I’ve got some very strong
in both on this one. There was a strong reaction,
generally very positive because so many people say this is real, and there’s many people
that say, no it’s not, but the people that say it wasn’t real, weren’t living the life
that we try to depict. They weren’t African American, they often had come out
of a life of privilege, or just a different set of experiences. That triggered dialogue, and
what we’ve seen since then, is a tremendous positive outpouring, probably in a vast majority positive, because what it did was it just opened up another
area for us to learn. Learn about each other in a different way that hopefully leads to better relations, and advancing dialogue. And a byproduct is it
does build the brand. My Black is Beautiful, and
it says you understand, and that’s true for
everything we try to do. You want to start with
serving the consumers, which is understanding him or her as they live their life, and say, how do you add some value to that? With a product or package
that addresses a need, or in some cases, by using your voice. This is an example for anybody that’s seen any of our #LikeAGirl
advertised on Always. It’s another one that addresses some of the area in gender
equality, and specifically, how often teenage girls
see a drop in confidence, and it’s because a lot of
terms we use in everyday life. Oh, you throw like a girl,
you do this like a girl, and it’s used in a very negative context. And we did some research
and ran some advertising, and it changed how they viewed that. It went from 15 to 18%,
viewed it positive, to 75%, and we’ve tried
to hero and feature just a number of high school girls in a variety of different settings, and then done some Olympic spots, or spots for the Olympics. And what we’ve seen is a
really positive response, and it built our Always brand. So the idea is to tap
into real social issues, and try to advance, in a constructive way, without getting political, just being, it’s more on real human dialogue. – Do we have the #LikeAGirl – There’s a #LikeAGirl spot.
– clip. – It’s a really,
– If we could, – and this is what we did with
– show this. – a company, Walmart, and it brings up again,
another very real dynamic. So watch this, if you would, and there’s a comment on it. – What I’d like to tell you about my junior high
girl’s basketball team is that they rock. They’re intelligent and beautiful, and they can do anything, as long as they know
people believe in them. (soft instrumental music) In 14 years, they’ve never had
a brand new set of uniforms. I’m duct taping their shorts to them, to make sure when they get on the court, that they don’t drop to their ankles. – Our locker rooms are sort of small, so we all pretty much
have to sit on the floor. – They’re not really thought about. They don’t get fans out to watch them. – It would mean a lot if
people came to support us because we need that support, and we look to our family and everything to cheer us on. – By the time it’s all said and done, they really think that
nobody cares about them. (soft instrumental music) (moves to upbeat music) – Oh my God!
– Oh my God! (girls squealing and laughing) – Oh my God!
– This is your night! (girls laughing) I need you now, to walk out there, knowing that I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself. (crowd cheering) – [Crowd] Lady Riders! (clapping) Lady Riders! (clapping) (crowd cheering) – [Girls] Lady Riders on three! One, two, three, Lady Riders! (clapping) – It was incredible, it
was a wonderful experience, and I feel more confident
about myself when I play. (audience applauding) – So as you produce spots like these, did you receive criticism that say, why aren’t you focused
on selling more products? You know, let’s get right to the point. Growth is the imperative. – Yes.
– And you’re not, you’re getting distracted
by social issues. – Yes, yeah, I even had one question in one of our shareholders meetings along that lines, but the interesting thing is, this advances understanding on a societal issue while it builds the business. Always has grown share,
Always has done very well, especially after we launch a new ad, because it just furthers the conversation. We’ve had a tremendous
following on social media. You’ve had another
number of thought leaders just share it with their audiences. The Walmart joint promotion did well for Walmart as well. We’ve now done a gym in every state. We found a high school
and generally picked one and converted it. So the one that generated
the most polarized comments was The Talk, because
it’s just a tough issue. It’s tough to talk about
race in this country. And to open up a dialogue
is just very awkward, and there’s some people that
really took offense at that. Really took offense. Some of the harshest
letters I’ve ever received came after we aired that. But we would constructively respond back. In fact, the Chief Diversity
Officer of the company was fabulous, because he
walked toward the barking dog. He said, if somebody really
had just a visceral reaction, he would send a note or call them, said, can we sit down and talk? And it was amazing, how it
just lowered the temperature, and you got into a dialogue, because people expected to argue back, and instead, what we try to do is engage. And engage, enroll people, and then people can
make up their own mind. But we are about building
our business first. First and foremost, Procter is
a consumer products company, and we’re looking to build our business. But we also believe, in today’s world, consumers are looking for
the company behind the brand. What are the values of the
company behind the brand? We have values that we
feel very strongly about, and we decided to start to express those in ways that make sense. We’ve done this is India
with a powerful campaign. We’ve done this in China on
some really, social stigma around women that aren’t married at 25. They’re called “leftover women.” We ran a very powerful spot, just talked about people making choice, and celebrating the choices they make. And it’s got just an
enormously positive response, and it grew the brand, and first priority is to grow the brand, but there’s a way to do
that in a constructive way. We’ll still do side-by-side,
so anybody that’s disappointed they won’t see a side-by-side,
there’ll be plenty of those, because we want to convey the
superiority of performance, but we also believe what a
brand stands for matters, more than it has in the past. – So you’ve been, you’re actually
on the steering committee of this group, CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. – Yes. – So, tell me what that’s about, and why that’s important for
CEOs to come together on this. – Well certainly, Tim Ryan,
I give credit, of PwC. He’s done a wonderful job kind of being the galvanizing leader in this, and then he talked to a number of us right after some of the terrible incidents of a couple years ago, where some African American,
both men and women, had been shot, but
mainly men had been shot. And we talked about, again,
the dialogue that occurred in our companies after that. We said, while these things
occurred outside our companies, people still experience it and
they come inside the company, and it’s difficult to talk about, so we wanted to create
dialogue in our companies. So I think there were eight
companies in the initial group. We said we would share best
practices, what we’re doing, and we had one of our leaders,
our Chief Marketing Officer, and our Chief Diversity Officer,
both led some dialogues. Created a forum where people
could talk about how they feel, because you don’t check
your emotions at the door. And what it became was
just a wonderful way, again, to learn. And so coming out of that, and again, led by Tim, but the group said, let’s see if we can’t
get a coalition of CEOs that want to share best
practices, and agree collectively, we will do unconscious bias training. There’s some wonderful
training out available on unconscious bias, which we all have. We all have biases. We have a set of experiences, and we see things through our lens. And the unconscious bias just
opens up your field of vision to potentially see different realities. And so we use this
catalyst to try to drive so making positive change. And we started with eight,
then with 15, 20, 50. I think there are 400 companies
now that have signed on. We’ve now had a couple meetings, we’ve gotten together,
share best practices, and again, this unconscious bias training. But the idea is that corporate America can really make a difference. We employ millions of people, and if we can create a
safe place in our companies where people can talk about
these difficult issues, we can have a more productive workforce. It’s genuine, and it’s
authentic conversations, but make it okay to
talk about these things that have almost been taboo to talk about. Whether it’s race, which
is one of the hardest, or other areas on gender equality, or any of the other areas
that you can look at. Hispanic, LGBTQ, any of these. Make it okay to talk about it, because our belief, in our company, everybody ought to be valued, everybody ought to be included, and everybody ought to have
the culture, the environment, that allows them to
contribute at their peak. That’s not true, either in
companies or in society, and we can get better. And we said, let’s work
together to get better. This is an area that
is not one that we said we’re going to try to
compete with each other. Let’s work together on this, and then compete on the
strategies of our company. – So I’m going to shift gears
back to your introduction where it was mentioned that you’ve been up close and personal with activist investing. – (chuckling) Yes. – Very, very public engagement. – Yes.
– And so, having gone through that, what lessons can you share with us around how you get the best out of this, and not get stuck with the things that can be a downfall? – First, the first thing I’ve reinforced to everybody in the company, the best way to not have an activist is deliver better results. And it’s true, activists generally come in when a company is underperformed
for some period of time, but they think there’s an upside. They’re looking for a chance to see a meaningful
inflection, to make money. So the first message, to me,
and to all of the company, is over a period of time, we did not perform as
well as we needed to, and it was an extended period
of time, for lots of reasons. But at the end of the day, message one. The second was, we did choose to fight it. It was an expensive and very
time-consuming proxy fight, but coming out of that,
during the process, myself, the CFO, and several
members of our board, and several other members,
our Chief Legal Officer, visited lots of our investors. And the silver lining out of
a very difficult six months, was we heard from a wide range
of big individual investors, as well as institutions,
about what they liked. And the message we heard
is, we like the strategy, we think it’s on track, but
we’d like to see faster action. And when we got down to the vote, it was pretty close to 50-50. We may have gotten a few
more votes at the end, but there was a clear message there, and instead of declaring
victory and moving on and having Nelson on the outside saying you’re not listening, we said, we had a very
constructive talk inside the board, and then I had several
conversations with Nelson Peltz, and said, if there’s a
way we can work together, then it makes sense to
invite you on the board. And he was reasonable, and we decided that was in the
best interest of all of us, so we invited him on the board, and said, we will create open dialogue. All board members have the chance to express their point of views, and we’ll work through
whatever the issues are. And whatever’s in the boardroom,
stay in the boardroom. So we won’t talk about
what the boardroom’s like, but I tell you that it’s
again, dialogue is powerful. Listening on, what’s the real message. I may not agree with the action
step or how he would do it, but many of the objectives,
I don’t disagree. Do I want to see the
company grow faster, yes. Do I see a role for
small brands, absolutely. Do I see a role for
some of the other points he’d make, yes. The specific way that he
may have articulated it, no. But we decided we’d would be
better to bring him on board, and work and have constructive dialogue inside the boardroom,
which is what we’ve done. – So P&G is one of the iconic
companies in the world, and that does put you in the spotlight in all kinds of ways.
– Yes, I’ve noticed that. – And you keep hearing
this drumbeat of growth, where’s growth?
– Yes. – And so, what’s going to be the magic? You’ve had, for the past six months or so, the markets have responded
favorably to your plans. – Mm-hmm. – So what does this growth
model look like going forward? – Yeah, what we’ve articulated publicly, which is all I can
certainly talk about here, which I very much believe in, is it’s based on truly refocusing on what drove the company to success, which is, we need to
be meaningfully better, and the products, the packages, our go-to-market capability, the communication, or brand equity, and then one we weren’t doing as well is both consumer value and customer value. What has changed amongst many
things in the marketplace is the dynamics for our
customers dramatically changed. Retail industry’s being disrupted, we could talk about that a good while on what’s happening with pure
players coming in online, both here, China, and many other places, and the profit pool’s under pressure. So most retailers are demanding, and it’s a reasonable request,
they’re making it very clear, which is there’s two things we
want leading companies to do. Grow our categories, and grow our profit. Because they’re under pressure. So we had to improve in category, in customer value, specifically,
and we’re addressing that, and we had to increase
the advantage we had in some of the other metrics
on product performance, our packaging, our
go-to-market capability. And as we’ve done that,
we’ve seen a real inflection. I go back two years
ago, our China business was minus 5%, that’s not good. The market’s growing, and
there’s lots of reasons. There’s an explosion of brands. 300 new brands were
launched in hair care alone in China last year. So even if they get a small amount coming in from everywhere. As we’ve refocused on this and gotten back to doing those five things really well, and use productivity to fund it, we’ve gone from minus five two years ago, to plus one last year, to
plus seven this last year. So a clear step up. So it demonstrates when we deliver that, but it requires us to move faster. What took two years before
needs to take nine months. It needs to be real time, you know. And I spent a good bit of time in Silicon Valley and in China. And the clock speed of
competition’s moved up. When we move, and we are
going to move at that speed, and take advantage of the
tremendous capabilities, the brand portfolio we have is amazing. The go-to-market capability. There’s scale advantages, but scale can talk you into
centralizing and getting slow. We had to get back to getting in touch with consumers and
customers, be market-focused. We will win in every
market in every country, and to do that means you better
be superior and be agile, and we have to reorganize our
company to be able to do that. And all that does take time,
but as they say in golf, there’s no room for
description on the score card. You get a little block, and we’ve got to deliver the results, which is top bottom cash, gross share, and do it in an ethical way that leaves our organization able to repeat that the following year. So a healthy organization,
so we got very clear, and I’m confident that the P&G people will rise to the occasion. – So speaking of the P&G people, again, that there’s a long tradition
of developing talent from within P&G.
– Yes. – And yet, there are all kinds of changes going on in the world, so how do you balance the need to continue to create opportunity, growth, and development for your team, with the idea of, well, there’s some stuff going on out there that
we need to bring in, and does that change the way you approach the organizational talent, development, and retention and attraction? – It’s a great question,
because it’s one that, we have historically
been almost exclusively a promote from within company. The number of my competitors that are ex-P&G is considerable. I can produce a list of, I think, 50 CEOs or presidents of divisions
in the last 20 years or so that are out in industry, across many, so that that development system works. On the other hand, there are some areas, either businesses or capabilities, where things have happened in
the marketplace really fast, and we can develop within,
but that takes time, or we can acquire it. So my belief is we’ll
stay with a developed, focused mindset on developing
the people we have, but where there’s been
primarily in the past, one on-ramp, which is
generally out of universities, and some exceptions, but
mainly out of universities, we want more on-ramps, which is IT, information security. We’ve hired a number of experienced people because frankly, the best
knowledge was outside our company, to bring in and accelerate our growth. But once you come into the company, it’s a develop from within organization, but we can supplement
with outside experience that accelerates our progress. We’ve done some significant outside hires across many levels and in
many different businesses, and it’s making us a better company. We’re not abandoning
the commitment to people that start with our company to
invest in their development, at all levels. On the other hand, we believe
we can accelerate our results and our development by bringing in people that have skills that will expose us to broader range of capabilities. – So you’ve mentioned that it’s much better to
have people who are humble, who don’t have big egos, and are interested in
learning continuously. One of the things that people fear when they don’t always kind of
call attention to themselves, is they’ll be missed. How is it that P&G nurtures the kind of talent that you think is going to be most valuable, and values that talent
when they’re not constantly singing their own praises? – Yeah, again, first I believe excellence gets noticed everywhere. So I think, generally, when people feel they have to tout what they do, I think it causes a lot of other people to put their guard up. So actually, I think it
backfires more than it helps in many organizations. My experience in P&G throughout my career is, those that deliver strong results, and do it in a way that
lifts the people around them, that leverages and taps into the talents of people around them, do well. I’ve been on nonprofit boards,
I’ve been on profit boards, and experienced the same thing. It is the individual that is
in service to the organization, but truly makes a meaningful impact. So it doesn’t mean you
just have to cooperate, it’s not, you know, collaborate
and go along with it and you’ll get ahead. No, because you’re not standing out. It has to be meaningful
track record of achievement, and done in a way that
develops those around them, because that’s another
form of contribution. We have a lens within the company that we look at the organizational impact as well as the hard number impact. Both matter, because the first,
the organizational impact, is what’s going to help
next year’s results. And I do look, when we look
for promotion candidates in higher levels, did we get talent come
out of the organization that was made available to
the rest of the company? All those things tell me that somebody’s having
an impact on the ability. Today, with the results they deliver, and tomorrow with the
talent they’ve developed. Again, I believe excellence stands out. Mediocrity can get lost. – So do you think that the
role of the corporation has fundamentally changed in recent years, that there are more responsibilities kind of coming back to these themes you were talking about before, or is it just that you have to
deliver the shareholder value and keep your employees happy? What do you think has changed in terms of your responsibility to P&G and the people you serve
and all your stakeholders? – Yeah, I think, and I know
there’s different views on this, and that’s fine, on what is the role of corporation? Is it to exclusively
serve and create value for your shareholders, which is a fundamental responsibility, or is it broad, to a broader
group of stakeholders? My personal view, and certainly
the Procter & Gamble view, is there’s a broader responsibility
to more stakeholders. It starts with making sure
you do serve your shareholders and deliver value over time, over time. But there’s a broader
group of stakeholders that include your employees. It includes other stakeholders like the communities in which we operate. It includes the environment,
the resources we tap into, and to me, the broader group
in suppliers and customers and how you interact with them. And so I think there’s a
responsibility to a broader group of stakeholders, starting
with your shareholders, but when it’s exclusively
to shareholders, to me, there are some very serious consequences to the long-term capability of an organization to create value. So I actually believe it is the
best value-creating strategy if you’re worried about
five, 10, 20 years. If you’re worried about
three to five years, to me you could focus exclusively on the financial results of a company. I believe to sustain that, you better be operating in a way that’s respectful of
employees, communities, the world’s resources. And now, there’s starting
to be even, to me, a consequence, if you don’t
do that, on many of these. You know, there’s extended
producer use taxes coming up in many countries for waste. So P&G has been very proactive in working with a variety of organizations
to address plastic waste, to find ways to recycle, reuse. Even things like diapers
that go to landfill, we’ve developed with another company a process to be able to reclaim them, and we’d have to work through municipal, and we’ve actually got a test going to collect, sanitize,
and create a value stream coming out of it so it
doesn’t go to landfill. But the idea is to find solutions
to many of these problems. Because it’s right for the
business for 10 years from now, and that’s starting to move up, because governments, regulators, are starting to create penalties for those that don’t take their responsibility to address some of society’s problems. – Okay, alright. I’m going to ask one more question, and then I’m going to turn
it over to the audience. And so this question was
actually slipped to me, which is, if you could
only eat in one restaurant for the rest of your life,
– Oh gosh (laughing). (audience laughing) – which Cracker Barrel would it be? (audience and Bill laughing) – I won’t even address that, because you can guess where
that one might have come from, and one of these first couple rows, in their Second Year at Fuqua, they may not make the
last semester, though. (everybody laughs) Unless they can run faster than I can, which they can, so
they’ll probably be here. Yeah, the story behind that, is we lived international
for a number of years. We lived in Hong Kong,
and then lived in Geneva, and when I’d come back,
especially when we lived in China, Cracker Barrel was the comfort food. I’d land at an airport and go to the nearest Cracker Barrel. And for some reason, that got noted by some folks in the family, and they decided to disclose that to a few of our closest friends today. (everybody laughs) – [Bill] So you were born
in Charlotte, after all. – Yes, I was. – So it’s good home cooking. So, questions from the audience. – There we go, over there. Somebody. Microphone right here, yeah. Microphone’s there, yeah. – [Kaylin] Hello, my
name is Kaylin Simmons. I wanted to say thank you for sharing the My Black
is Beautiful campaign. I think I’m your target
customer, and I loved it. (Kaylin laughs)
– (clapping) Yes! (audience applauding) – [Kaylin] So I have two questions. Sorry for being greedy. The first question is can
you share your thoughts on how companies that value
diversity and inclusion create a competitive advantage for themselves?
– Okay. – [Kaylin] And then the
second question would be, what piece of advice would
you give the students here that are looking to enter companies to sort of navigate unconscious bias and combat it in their
respective companies? – Alright.
– So thank you in advance. – Thank you, they’re both great questions. First, on diversity and inclusion. Both of these are important. Diversity is about having
presence of people of difference, and it can be almost to any lens. But diversity alone, not addressed, actually can cause
disruption in a company. There’s a motto which I
really believe in that says, homogenous teams tend
to start off stronger. People tend to be more alike, they listen, they come together quickly, but they tend to tap out earlier. Diverse teams tend to start bumpy. There’s lot of different ideas, different perspective, different lens. If you can pull it together
and create the environment where you can listen to everybody, this whole idea of not waiting
to speak, of listening, they tend to outperform, and significantly outperform teams, because they access many more experiences, and often a broader range of capability. Many companies are making
progress in diversity. To me, often, the harder part, is creating an inclusive environment, where people feel they can
bring their genuine self to work each and every day, and that’s one of the things
we’re working very hard on. Not just presence of
diversity, which is important, and frankly there’s a lot of room for corporate America to improve, but it’s creating the environment, we activate that diversity,
to both advance the company, but also create a much, much
more vibrant, dynamic culture. So I think it’s very powerful, and I do believe it’s absolutely a source of competitive advantage, because, you think of a company like P&G. Five billion consumers this year will buy a P&G product. Five billion consumers, almost. That’s a lot of people. And what I want is a leadership team that’s reflective of the people we serve. Because they have more
empathy for the consumers, we’ll find out how to connect with them. Not sell to them, but connect to them. When and where they’re receptive
in a way that’s respectful. And to me, if I have a
diverse leadership team that’s reflective of the people we serve, the ability for our company to
connect with those consumers to me, goes up significantly. As far as when somebody’s
joining the company, you will all likely be much more in touch with diversity and inclusion and working in teams
that are very different. One of the things that I think, Dean Boulding, you do, and your whole staff and administration do a wonderful job, is
creating an environment where it’s not just about
me, and getting ahead. This is an amazing academic institution, but it’s also a place that employers see, you can get people that
actually have EQ, IQ, and you call it, the Decency Quotient. I think all of those are very important. The “leaders of consequence” is real. That’s not a slogan, that is real, and what companies want is people that are going to make a difference. Beyond just being really smart, there’s a lot of really smart people. People that are smart
that can work with folks, respectfully interact with
those that are subordinate to whatever level they’re in, their peers, their bosses,
and other stakeholders, and to me, you bring, likely, a better suite of skills,
more empathy on how to work with people that are different from you, which I think companies really value. The one other piece I’d say, is please don’t discount
your ability to contribute in your ideas day one. You have a gift that companies
like P&G really value, which is fresh eyes. If you come to a company
and there’s something that really doesn’t look
like it makes any sense, it probably doesn’t make any sense, but we’ve got compensating
systems to navigate around it. I love it when somebody comes in and says, David, do you realize we do this, it’s really an inefficient way, and then, please, and here’s a better way, and I’d like to help make that happen. The last part is what
really distinguishes people. People that see issues,
and say, here’s an issue, I’d like to work on addressing it, as opposed to bring a problem to somebody. So I think you all have
very capable backgrounds. You wouldn’t be in the school if you weren’t achievement-oriented. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t smart, and able to work with teams. Those that really start fast are the ones that are willing to jump in, contribute, and have
enough self-confidence to be able to express their point of view, and then be the first one that steps up. One of the things John
Pepper, one of our former CEOs and Chairman and just a wonderful man, once told me, early in
his career, he said, David, when they were looking for somebody to lead the United Way
campaign or an arts fund drive or some other organizational effort, he said, I was always the
person that stood forward where everybody was
looking at their shoes. He said, the reason I did that was it gave me a couple real benefits. One, I made a contribution,
often got noticed. Secondly, I met people
that built my network. And third, I showed the
organization I had the capacity to do my job, and something more. And so, and he’s now, he’s
done that his whole career. He’s retired, and he’s
still in service to society. Just a wonderful role model. So please don’t discount
the immediate impact you can have, and make
whomever you join, better. – [Man] Thank you, thanks for your time, and I really appreciate the meaningful and insightful comments
that we’re hearing. We heard that you talked about
the adoption of technology and especially the new
technologies that are out there, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
– Yes. – [Man] What’s your take and what’s, how would you define
innovation within P&G, and why would you think
that that is something that the future leaders
here should focus on? And also, what’s, how P&G is looking at managing different types of innovation so that it can stay in
par with the market? – Okay, it’s a big question,
probably many facets. Just a couple things on innovation. One, many think of
innovation as cool tech. And that does matter, and certainly, we leverage a number of different tools, because in addition to the
consumer products we have, we have a number, now, of
devices, smart devices, because it gives us information on how to better serve the consumer. You’ll find smart toothbrushes and a number of other categories now. There’s an Olay Skin Advisor, where you can take a picture of your skin and get a diagnosis, and products that’ll better serve you, and there’s all kinds of
capability being built, you know, that can be activated with a mobile phone. And we’re working with amazing partners. Many of the tech firms in the U.S., and in China, and around the world. But to me, there’s a broader opportunity on innovation for companies like P&G, which is to innovate
on the business model, and innovate on any of the five aspects of superiority, that I mentioned. Product, package, go-to-market capability, communication, or how to create value with customers or consumers. And what we want to create, and frankly, another area that I think this institution prepares people very well to
be an immediate contributor, is the time frame of innovation, to me, is move much, much, faster. And the way innovation is done
in big companies in the past, is big teams, multifunctional,
get a big budget, you know, you’d have quarterly targets. And the way it operates now,
and the way we’re moving, is much more to what’s often
called Lean Innovation. Small teams, identified outcome, give them a lot of license,
and very little money. And the idea is let them go learn fast, run experiments, you know,
you got an idea on Friday, run an experiment over the weekend, get a minimum viable prototype, get it out there, learn about it, and go, and do it yourself. We say we want the eyes on the consumer, hands on the keyboard, and go. And to me, you can innovate in every aspect of your business. So we want innovative people, whatever we put them, on
a brand, or a segment, innovate, make it better. And so, and what we’re doing, and it’s one of the, to
me, unique gifts we have, because of our size and scale, we’ve been able to access
almost any company. We just had an event this summer that we call Signal. We bring in thought leaders across a variety of different fields that are disrupting fields. So we had everybody from CEOs
and founders of large firms. Last year, we had Daniel Zhang,
CEO of Alibaba, on stage. We’ve had the CEO of many of the firms that are now billionaires,
before they were billionaires, and in their hoodie in their 20s, and they’ve come and
talked about any variety of different businesses. And then we get a chance
to interact with them. We’ve had, certainly,
leaders of Facebook, Google, and many others. We had the CEO of
YouTube, this time, talk, and we had the CEO and
founder of Pinterest. We’ve had Chinese entrepreneurs. And the idea is to expose our organization and then where it makes sense, build the relationships so
that we can get small teams to work with them. Whether it’s with Verily at Google that’s doing some really cool stuff, to a number of firms in China, to a number of firms in Europe. There’s so much innovation going on, and I don’t want it confined,
what we can do as a company, to what we can do inside. It’s, again, we’re not
paid for what we do, we’re paid for what we can
make happen in the marketplace, and it’s one of the first
things you really need to learn is that the impact you can have is far greater than what your
personal work effort can be. If you can tap into others, and it can be technology partners, it can be teammates. Small teams, small amount of money, tight time frames, gets
amazing things done. Please. – [Man] Thank you so much
for coming to speak with us, taking the time out of your busy schedule. My question is, we actually
have an entire class on navigating organizations next semester, so as someone who’s obviously
done very well in that, how would you say you
move up in an organization where you have a lot of
competition for roles, and how do you be competitive while also being collaborative and helping others reach
their full potential as well? – Okay, good, again, to
advance in companies, I really do believe it is a level of
achievement that stands out and the way it’s accomplished, and we and many companies do, you know, whether it’s 360 feedback or just a cross-section
of the organization on what your impact was, and we do that starting
relatively early in one’s career, because it’s important what someone does and how they get it done, to me, in our company, and I
think in most organizations. Again, people have often said, is people are super competitive, and they want to withhold information. I do not see that, I didn’t experience it when I moved from manufacturing
into our brand group. What I saw was folks that had a ton to do, and worked with each other, and generally, if we do our job right, we’ll have people own certain areas, and then work with others
on other responsibilities, so there is some aspect that
you’re leading the thinking, but you’re working with
other people to get it done. And generally, relatively quickly, you can see how well people
interact with others, and what their impact is in
results that they’ve delivered. You have to be, though, comfortable. If you’re looking for
very quick affirmation, and you’re looking for individualistic, kind of quick rewards, many big companies aren’t the best. There’s other places to go for that. Having said that, if I
look across our company, the people that are exceptional
tend to move up quickly, because those that are
leading them can see. They work close enough, the level up, or the level two levels up, can see, and what you want to do is to advance those that have the capacity to contribute and build the organization. It’s in their best interest. So there’s, to be a vested self-interest to find those that are outstanding, and give them bigger responsibilities. Just a track record of achievement, and I think that’s true of
a wide range of companies. Track record of
achievement, done in a way, that, to me, builds the
capability of the organization. Others? Okay, yes.
– Hi. – Where? (laughs) You could stand up, I can’t
tell where it comes from. Thank you, okay, good, thanks. – [Woman] Hi, thank you so much. It was great listening to you. So my question is more of
the digital disruptions. You mentioned that you (mumbles), space from Google and Amazon. So what other strategies
are you following within P&G to make sure you’re able to disrupt and use catalyze (mumbles) as well? – It’s a great question, because we’ve got our share of misses, and some successes. Today, we’ve got, in our industry, we have the largest e-commerce business of any in our industry. And we’ve had several businesses that have been widely
communicated that fell behind. You know, our shave care business is one, where several online competitors took a significant chunk of business out, and we were late addressing that. There was an unmet consumer need, it was difficult to address because it was very expensive at first, and what we have to
acknowledge, and is very real, is much of the competition, in many cases, does not make money initially. They’re funded by private
equity, they’re trying to grow, it’s a sales-driven business model, and then an exit, but it’s real. There’s right, wrong, and real. That’s real, we have to address it, and there’s a group of
consumers that wanted what they were providing, and so we said, you’ve
got to go address it. And if it costs money in the short run but it retains our brand users, then get after it. And after what happened
on the Dollar Shave Club, you’re seeing across P&G’s portfolio, both in the U.S., now
in Europe, and in China, a much more responsive set of actions, both online, offline,
and omnitype experiences, working with our retailers, as well as leveraging technology. So whether that’s Olay,
whether that’s now, what we’re doing with Gillette across many countries in the world, is making sure we’re
showing up when and where consumers want to shop, period, and we’re making sure we’re not waiting for somebody to disrupt, we’re being disruptive
ourselves in many industries. So you’re seeing performance marketing, one-to-one mass communication, leveraging databases that
we’ve either established, or worked with some partners. In many of those areas, it may not be as profitable initially as our existing business, because there’s some added expense, but we have to worry about
continued to build users every year on each of our brands. So household penetration
is one of the key focuses. You want to build your equity,
build household penetration, and over time, grow
faster than the market. And to me, it’s doable,
it’s very challenging, because the number of competitors that are entering our
categories are enormous. Just last year, over 300 new
hair care brands in China. We’ve still got 40 plus share
of the business in China. We’ve got a portfolio of five brands. If we don’t have a brand that
can serve a segment well, create it, buy it, do what you need to do, but address the business problem, and so in some cases, we’ve
now bought a few companies, because they either had
capability, people, or brand, that to me was needed in order to address serving the consumers in that category. But for all the leaders, they understand, the objective is to create
value for our shareholders via better serving the consumers, and if there’s a business model challenge, then come up with an innovative solution. – Okay, we have time
for one last question. – There we go, right behind you. – [Man] Sorry, I was in a blind spot. Thank you for taking the time to be here. As leader in organization,
very large organization, how do you get feedback
from very different levels to building your strategy, and how do you communicate it back to ensure that it reaches to the mass so everybody’s onboard
to drive into your vision that you have for the company? – To me, it’s also a great question. The second part of that
is relatively easy, the first part is very hard. It’s easy to talk that way,
it’s hard to get it back. Just because the dynamics
in a big company. We’re a company of almost 100,000 people spread across 100 countries. We have on-the-ground operations in 70. On the second part,
which is the easy part, what I do is, I do a lot of town halls, or global webcasts, and I’ve changed it from a one-way, standing on stage, presenting, to walking out, taking
questions from anybody, and try to create, or eliminate
the distance, the title. Leave the business card at the door. This is David, somebody
that’s been with this company for a lot of years, and
we have a common interest. We want to grow this company. And so if I can address your question and it helps you do a
better job, wonderful. And any question is okay. I got a question from one of the plants: can you explain how it makes sense, your salary versus mine? (audience laughing) And my true response in that was, first, thank you for having the courage to ask what everybody in
this room is wondering, (audience laughing)
because the proxy had just been listed, and they look at these
numbers that are eye-popping. And on that one, I talked about, there’s a simple principle
we use for salary, for you, and for me. Which is, we do a market survey, and we took, what jobs like that, what does it take to attract people, and that principle is what’s used. I don’t defend the absolute
amount, it is eye-popping. But that’s what the market bears and P&G chooses to be competitive. It’s driven by a principle. He said thank you, sat down, we moved on. And so directly answering questions that people want to
hear makes a difference, and then global webcast in
every country that I visit. We tend to take an hour and just do, for the
people that are there, a Q&A session. The first part is harder, because you have to
actively try to get data. The filter that’s in
any large organization as you go up, is heavy. And absent, either having
somebody go get the data for you, or lowering the consequence
of giving somebody feedback they don’t want to hear,
you’re not going to get it. If I react in a way that’s defensive, I won’t get anything. And I do know, somebody told me, the day that I got appointed CEO, was the last day of constructive,
honest feedback I’d get. (everybody laughing) So, you see, you’re going
to have to work hard if you really want to understand the impact, the things you do, that it has on other people. And so I’ve had to work hard at that. I invite, you know, whether it’s my leadership
team, or, you know, it could be partners
in the HR organization, to help me see the impact I have, because we all need it, you know. It’s tough to get constructive feedback. We all need it. We all make mistakes, we
all need to learn and grow, and if we’re truly in
service to the organization, we view it as a gift. Reality is, we only want
the good gifts. (chuckles) But I try to create an environment where people can be direct. People send me a lot of emails, I actually personally
respond to quite a few. And that then gets out, you know. David responded to a note, said back, thanks for sending it, it’s
a courageous question to ask, here’s my view. And hopefully, you know,
people will be more honest. But I recognize, is a filter. And I do want to just, the
other thing I’d want to say, and then I certainly will let Bill close, is this institution, and frankly, the collective
experience you’re getting, is, to me, remarkable. Many employers will
comment on the students that come out of this
organization, this institution. We feel very fortunate
when we get a Fuqua grad, because they come, not
only with the intellect, but they come also with
experience working with people, and those that really internalize this “leaders of consequence,” to me, are just wonderful candidates to make a difference in
our company very quickly. So I consider it a pleasure to come and just share some thoughts with you, and understand the day
you start at any company, you’ll make a big difference. – Thank you so much, David. (audience applauding) – [Rob] Thank you David,
and Dean Boulding. On behalf of the school, we wanted to give you a gift – Oh, good.
– as a small token of our appreciation. – Oh good, did you buy a lot of stuff from P&G to do this (laughing)? (audience laughing) – Yeah, please join me in thanking David. – Thank you, thank you so much. – Thank you. – Thank you.
– Pleasure.


  1. george ash says:

    I have a question for Mr Taylor. Why are you making ads for your razors (January 2019) that insult your customers?

  2. Ironman Slippers says:


  3. Rick HatesMisleadia says:

    Boycott all Proctor & Gamble products. Not one of the is irreplaceable!

  4. davidpar2 says:

    Soy boy

  5. Medic Maniac says:

    I hear Kim Gehrig made a new film about Procter and Gamble, it's called, "Honey I Shruk The Company".

  6. V M says:

    Asshole…what else describes him?

  7. boberson33 says:

    Fuck this guy…

  8. M S says:

    What utter fucking bullshit…David you are a fucking plastic polluter..!!!!!

  9. Dermot O'Sullivan says:

    Stop the war against men – boycott Gillette

  10. actionguy60 says:

    Just a rent seeking empty suit like his buddy Coombe , both need be fired for wrecking a 100 year old brand.

  11. Jules G says:

    P&G reported a net loss of about $5.24 billion, or $2.12 per share, for the quarter ended June 30, due to an $8 billion non-cash writedown of Gillette.

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