Meet Robert McDonald: Obama’s Nominee to Head The VA

PHOTO: President Barack Obama listens as former Procter and Gamble executive Robert McDonald, his nominee as the next Veterans Affairs secretary, speaks at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, June 30, 2014.

President Obama has nominated former Procter and Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the next Secretary for the Veterans Administration. The president also outlined steps taken to address the scandals plaguing the VA, including reaching out to 135,000 veterans to get them off the wait lists.

The president praised McDonald's “three decades of experience in building and managing one of the world's most recognized companies."

“Let me state the obvious: This is not going to be an easy assignment," Obama said. "Bob knows that. But like any Army Airborne Ranger, Bob has a reputation for being ready and jumping into tough situations, taking charge and going all the way.”

Here are seven things you may not know about the president’s nominee to head the VA:

1. Military service runs in the family:

McDonald’s father, his wife’s father and his wife’s uncle all served in the military. His father served in WWII in the Army Air Corps. His wife’s father was a POW after being shot down over Europe. His wife’s uncle still receives treatments at the VA after exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam.

2. He is qualified in airborne, ranger, jungle, Arctic and desert warfare, jumpmaster, expert infantry, and senior parachutist:

After graduating from West Point in the top 2 percent of his class, he served in the Army for five years where he received the above qualifications. Upon leaving the military he received the Meritorious Service Medal. He also went to West Point with acting VA secretary Sloan Gibson.

3. He started as a brand assistant:

Thirty-three years ago he began his career as a Brand Assistant before working his way up to CEO, where he oversaw more than 120,000 employees, products sold in more than 180 countries in more than 2.5 million stores reaching more than 5 billion customers.

4. His predecessor replaced him at P&G:

McDonald, now 61, was CEO of P&G for about three years before his predecessor replaced him. At the time questions swirled as to whether he was forced out. P&G maintained that he was retiring.

5. He has written his own 10-point system on leadership:

Five of them were shared in this presentation at Singapore Management University

1. Living a life driven by purpose is more meaningful and rewarding than meandering through life without direction. Avoid living life reactively rather than proactively. The pace of modern life and overload of communication tends to give us so much to react to that we do not have time to address our priorities. 2. Companies must do well to do good and must do good to do well. This, he suggested, is a positive and virtuous cycle. 3. Character is the most important trait of a leader. Put the needs of the organization above your own and take personal responsibility for the organisation’s results. He also quoted from the West Point Cadet’s Prayer: “Help me to choose the harder right, rather than the easier wrong.” 4. Diverse groups of people are more innovative than homogeneous groups. Creativity is often the result of making unexpected connections between concepts and experiences. Diversity creates disparate nodes which facilitate this process. 5. Organizations must renew themselves to stay relevant. Recruiting and training are top priorities. What differentiates those who succeed from those who don't, is the ability to learn.

6. He has climbed Mt. Fuji:

Obama today: “He repeats the Japanese saying -- he worked and lived in Japan for six years while at Procter & Gamble. The saying goes: He who climbs Mount Fuji is a wise man; he who climbs it twice is a fool. Now, Bob actually climbed Mount Fuji, once. Bob is a wise man.”

7. He has many honorary degrees:

McDonald has honorary degrees from: Doctor of Laws, Honorary Degree from Hampden-Sydney College; a doctor of commercial science honorary degree from the University of Cincinnati; A doctor of business administration honorary degree from Drexel University; a doctor of humanities honorary degree from Xavier University.

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