The Slatest

Obama Picks Former Procter & Gamble Exec to Lead Veterans Affairs

Bob McDonald speaks during the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting on September 23, 2012 in New York

Photo by STEPHEN CHERNIN/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama is set to nominate Bob McDonald, a West Point graduate and former Procter & Gamble chief executive, to be the next secretary of veterans affairs. Obama will likely make the announcement on Monday. If confirmed, McDonald would face a big challenge to fix up a troubled agency that has come under fire for providing poor medical services to veterans. The nomination of such an unorthodox candidate for a post usually reserved for military leaders highlights “the serious management problems facing the agency charged with serving more than 8 million veterans a year,” notes the Washington Post. A report issued on Friday said the agency suffers from “significant and chronic system failures” and a “corrosive culture.”

But the White House also highlighted that McDonald has military credentials, which “should help ease concerns among the agency’s primary constituency: veterans and their families,” points out the New York Times. He graduated top of his class at West Point before serving in the Army for five years. McDonald then worked at Procter & Gamble for 33 years, starting out as a brand assistant in 1980. He retired last year “after investors grew concerned that he wasn’t doing more to cut costs and deliver more consistent results,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

McDonald appears to be a Republican, notes Politico. He gave $2,500 to Mitt Romney and contributed $1,000 to House Speaker John Boehner less than a year ago.