P&G Said Planning to Promote Four as Contenders to Succeed CEO

Procter & Gamble Co. plans to promote four executives to new senior roles as part of a reorganization aimed at streamlining the company’s management structure, a person familiar with the matter said.

The four executives may be in line to succeed the newly returned Chief Executive Officer A.G. Lafley, said the person, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Lafley started his second stint as CEO last week and is trying to turn around the world’s largest consumer-products company.

Lafley is expected to stay for at least two or three years, and one of his main goals is to prepare a lineup of executives at Cincinnati-based P&G who could replace him, the person said.

P&G is reorganizing its brands into four sectors, each headed by a president who will report to Lafley, the person said. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the plan, reported earlier that possible candidates include Melanie Healey, group president of North America; David Taylor, group president of global home care; Martin Riant, group president of global baby care; Giovanni Ciserani, group president of global fabric care; and Deborah Henretta, group president of global beauty care, the Journal said.

The four sector presidents won’t be the only candidates for CEO, the Journal said.

Struggling Growth

Lafley, who stepped aside almost four years ago, returned last week to replace Bob McDonald after the Cincinnati-based company struggles to rekindle growth at home and abroad while losing market share to rivals like Unilever.

The 65-year-old executive said he plans to continue a turnaround plan that McDonald embarked on last year aiming at cutting $10 billion in costs through 2016 and renewing focus on the company’s leading businesses.

In established markets, P&G has lost customers in such key categories as detergents. The beauty business, which last year generated 24 percent of sales, is ailing as competitors such as L’Oreal SA seize share in emerging markets.

P&G’s sales growth has averaged 2 percent over the past three years, compared with 8.7 percent for Unilever, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. The company’s fourth-quarter forecast trailed analysts’ estimates, prompting shares to plunge the most in more than four years.

Lafley’s second stint recalls the successful comebacks of former leaders from Steve Jobs to Starbucks Corp.’s Howard Schultz. He started working at the Cincinnati-based company in 1977 and served as president and CEO from 2000 to 2009.

McDonald, 59, will retire on June 30 after 33 years of service, the company said.