P&G Taps New Global Marketing Boss

P&G Taps New Global Marketing Boss

P&G Taps New Global Marketing Boss 

One of the most influential executives in the marketing world, Procter & Gamble Co.'s global marketing chief Jim Stengel, is stepping down unexpectedly, a move that could have broad repercussions for Madison Avenue.

P&G's marketing czar since 2001, Mr. Stengel, 53 years old, is leaving to pursue other interests. He will be succeeded in August by Marc Pritchard, 48, a veteran P&G executive who most recently has been president of strategy, productivity and growth.

P&G is the world's biggest advertiser, spending about $8 billion a year world-wide for products that range from Pampers diapers to Tide laundry detergent.

Mr. Pritchard will take the helm as P&G's profit margins are under pressure from rising commodity prices. Given Mr. Pritchard's most recent role studying productivity companywide, the cost-effectiveness of P&G's ad spending likely will receive particular scrutiny.

Mr. Pritchard also will have to decide whether to accelerate the shift of ad dollars to digital media, such as the Web and cellphones, a question of enormous importance to traditional media outlets like television and magazines. P&G -- which pioneered television advertising -- has lagged in the shift to digital marketing. That has been a missed opportunity for P&G, analysts say.

Still, Mr. Pritchard's power is somewhat limited. Despite overseeing P&G's world-wide marketing, the post usually commands more influence outside of the walls of the Cincinnati consumer-products giant than inside, ad executives say. Media buyers say that P&G's brand managers have final say over ad spending and how to position a brand in ads.

"Being global marketing officer at P&G is like being a manager without portfolio -- lots of responsibility and not much authority," says Dave Hardie, managing director for recruiters Herbert Mines Associates. "The budgets lie in the business units and key decisions seem to be there."

Despite those limits, Mr. Stengel had an enormous impact on P&G's marketing strategy. In his tenure he successfully pushed the consumer products titan to rethink its once-staid approach to advertising. Instead of focusing on product demonstrations, P&G began using more humorous, attention-grabbing ads.

Mr. Stengel is expected to join a university and may also have a role at a new marketing company dubbed the "Purpose Institute," which is being created by GSDM Idea City, owned by Omnicom Group, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Mr. Pritchard has spent his entire career at P&G where he is credited with broadening the Crest brand. He also played a critical role in developing P&G's blockbuster Olay skin care business, turning around its market share in the early 1990s after a five-year decline. While an executive in P&G's cosmetics business, Mr. Pritchard developed the "Easy, Breezy, Beautiful, Cover Girl" campaign, still in use today.

Outside P&G, the new marketing chief could have a big impact on ad agencies that deal with the deep-pocketed company. During Mr. Stengel's reign, he convinced brand managers to add Oregon independent agency Wieden & Kennedy to its roster, dramatically boosting the business of the agency.

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