P&G President Susan Arnold to Step Down

P&G President Susan Arnold to Step Down

P&G President Susan Arnold to Step Down

Susan Arnold, president of global business units for Procter & Gamble Co., is resigning, the company said Monday.

Ms. Arnold, who turned 55 years old Sunday, had long been considered a contender to succeed 61-year-old P&G Chief Executive Officer A.G. Lafley, who is expected to step down when he turns 65. Ms. Arnold's departure could clear the way for Robert McDonald, currently P&G's chief operating officer, to succeed Mr. Lafley.

P&G said that Ms. Arnold will step down as president immediately, but she will continue with the company on special assignment, reporting to Mr. Lafley, until September, when she will have been with the company for 29 years.

"It has long been her intention to step down upon her 55th birthday," the company said.

Over the past several months it appeared that Ms. Arnold had been looking outside P&G to heighten her professional profile. In 2008, she joined the board of McDonald's Corp., following a board appointment at Walt Disney Co. the year before. A participant in the Clinton Global Initiative, the charitable organization led by former President Bill Clinton, Ms. Arnold has convened with world leaders and other high-profile executives to discuss issues such as poverty and sustainability at the group's annual conferences.

As the head of P&G's global business units, Ms. Arnold had overseen more than 300 brands, which in total generate $83.5 billion in annual sales. P&G didn't name a successor to Ms. Arnold, and the executives who have reported to her will now report to Mr. Lafley, "reducing a layer of management as part of the Company's ongoing simplification effort," the company said in a prepared statement.

Ms. Arnold's rise through P&G's ranks, where she has spent her entire career, included a stint as the leader of P&G's global beauty business, where she led the transformation of Olay into a billion-dollar skincare blockbuster. Later, as vice chairman, Ms. Arnold was charged with leading the two most important growth initiatives at the company -- its health and beauty businesses.

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