New YorkFür sein Interview mit den Handelsblatt-Korrespondenten Astrid Dörner und Thomas Jahn nahm sich Procter & Gamble-Chef Bob McDonald ungewöhnlich viel Zeit. Über zwei Stunden lang plauderte er über seine Zeit als Soldat in Vietnam und erzählte, wie er die Windeln seiner Enkelkinder wechselt. Wie sich jetzt herausstellte, war sein Gespräch mit dem Handelsblatt nicht nur das längste und ausführlichste Interview, das er je gegeben hat, sondern auch sein letztes als Chef.
Handelsblatt Online dokumentiert die englische Version des Interviews. Die deutsche Version erhalten Sie hier zum Download.
Mr. McDonald, as CEO of the world’s largest manufacturer of household goods, do you do the washing at home?
That is in fact one of the major downsides of my job. Yes, I do the washing – and when it’s time to change our little grandchild’s diapers, then guess who has that responsibility!
Right first time...
That way, you know all about American babies and housewives. But what about your customers abroad?
I’ve done the washing in just about all of our markets around the world – in the Philippines, for example. During my four years there, I used to hand-wash the clothes in the wash-tub – on one occasion in the waters of the Pasig, which is not exactly the cleanest of rivers. That’s the only way to see what things are really like, and what products people need.
How did you find washing in Germany?
People are really concerned with cleanliness there. In 1973, I spent five months in Germany, when I was stationed near Fulda. I really fell in love with this country then. Every morning, I used to walk through the village, and the women were already sweeping the streets clean.
How important is Germany for the company?
Incredibly important. Around 13,000 of our 126,000 employees and 1,000 of our 9,000 researchers work in Germany, and eleven of our factories are based there – the second-highest number in any country in the world. When Angela Merkel was awarded the “Medal of Freedom” by President Barack Obama two years ago, I was among the invited guests at the banquet in the White House. When I congratulated her, she said something about Procter & Gamble as an American company. I was reluctant to correct her, but I did feel it necessary to point out that we employ more people in Germany than all our German competitors. She was really struck by that.