P&G's Lafley Joins Private-Equity Firm

P&G's Lafley Joins Private-Equity Firm

P&G's Lafley Joins Private-Equity Firm

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Adds Another Brand-Name Chief Executive to Advise the Firm and Its Businesses

Mr. Lafley, who retired from the world's largest consumer-products company in February after a 33-year career, is taking a new role at private-equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice LLC. He will serve as a "special partner" advising the firm and its companies on management issues ranging from product innovation to global expansion.

Former Procter & Gamble Chairman and Chief Executive A.G. Lafley joined buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

"I want to do things I really enjoy with people I really like," said the 62-year-old Mr. Lafley, who was known at P&G for prolific deal making. "For 33 years at P&G, I spent my career starting up new businesses and fixing established ones, and I think that private equity does just that."

The hire is a coup for New York-based Clayton Dubilier, a pioneering private-equity firm with stakes in companies including rental-car brand Hertz Corp. and commercial-cleaning company Diversey Inc. Among the first buyout shops to tout its capabilities in operating businesses, Clayton Dubilier has a stable of brand-name chief executives on its payroll such as John F. Welch Jr., the former General Electric Co. CEO, and Edward Liddy, the ex-CEO of insurer Allstate Corp. who also served a stint as the government-appointed CEO of insurer American International Group.

Private-equity firms are loading up on seasoned executives as they look for help managing their companies in a difficult economic environment that hinders growth. Carlyle Group is expected to announce Wednesday that Robert Essner, the former CEO of pharmaceutical company Wyeth, now part of Pfizer Inc., will join the firm as a senior adviser. CCMP Capital has brought on as its chairman Greg Brenneman, a highly regarded CEO at several companies including Burger King Corp.

Mr. Lafley stepped down as P&G's chief executive last July and remained as chairman until Jan. 1. Longtime P&G executive Robert McDonald, a close colleague of Mr. Lafley's, succeeded him in both posts.

Mr. Lafley's storied P&G career began in 1977 when he started there as a brand assistant for Joy dishwashing liquid. In the two decades that followed, he ascended to the chief executive post where his nine-year tenure was marked by prolific deal making. Even before his blockbuster $57 billion purchase of Gillette in 2005, Mr. Lafley already had inked the biggest deals in P&G history.

Trying to steer P&G into faster-growing, higher-margin beauty products, Mr. Lafley purchased Clairol in 2001 for nearly $5 billion and Wella two years later for more than $6 billion. Meanwhile, he sold off P&G's slow-growing food businesses, including Jif peanut butter, Sunny Delight orange drink and Folgers coffee. Under Mr. Lafley's leadership, P&G sales more than doubled, while profit quintupled since 2001.

Mr. Lafley, who just returned from a five-week trek in New Zealand, also will be giving speeches and is writing a book about strategy. He plans to continue serving as a director for GE and chairman of the board of trustees for Hamilton College, Mr. Lafley's alma mater.

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