Report: Proctor and Gamble former CEO Robert McDonald tapped as next VA Secretary

 
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Report: Proctor and Gamble former CEO Robert McDonald tapped as next VA Secretary

According to numerous cources, P&G Exec Robert McDonald has been tapped as the new VA Secretary:

President Barack Obama plans to nominate former Proctor & Gamble executive Robert McDonald as the next Veterans Affairs secretary, as the White House seeks to shore up an agency beset by treatment delays and struggling to deal with an influx of new veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

An administration official said Obama would announce McDonald's appointment Monday. If confirmed by the Senate, McDonald would succeed Eric Shinseki, the retired four-star general who resigned last month as the scope of the issues at veterans' hospitals became apparent.

In tapping McDonald for the post, Obama is signaling his desire to install a VA chief with broad management experience. McDonald also had military experience, graduating near the top of his class from West Point and serving as a captain in the Army, primarily in the 82nd Airborne Division.

Lately my wife and I have been watching a show religiously on CNBC titled "The Profit."  Basically this business coach guy, Marcus Lemonis goes into businesses and fixes whatever their problems are.  He purchases a huge stake in the business, looks at everything and then goes about making the company profitable.  I'm not sure why I am so fascinated by it, but I watch every episode.  From what I have seen, those that listen to him excel, those who don't end up going belly up.

Anyway, his basic philosophy is that business has three major factors:

People: who is employed where, and are they able to adequately do what they need to do for profitability.

Process: is the company providing the product at the lowest possible overhead.

Product: is the product one that is proprietary, and desired by consumers.

The middle one is often the sticking point.  I watched one this weekend where a flower company had 7 years worth of stuff in a warehouse, and their inventory was written on scratch pads.  The delivery trucks weren't refrigerated, and the flowers wilted en route to the houses.  And to make matter worse, the poor drivers had no GPS, so they often got lost.

Looking at the problems with the VA, through this lens, you can see that the process in particular is the worst.  The People, at least those at the top seem to have their focus in the wrong places, and the product is generally good.

Facebook comments on the American Legion's Online Update Page thus far have been largely VERY negative about this choice.  I'm not entirely sure though that I disagree with bringing in a business minded person though.   The most common negative belief is that this guy isn't a healthcare guy, and he wasn't a general.  I'm not sure what bearing either really have.  Secretary Hagel was only a sergeant in the Army, and now he leads the DoD.  At the least, McDonald was a West Pointer who went on to have a reasonably successful career in the military before moving on to P&G. 

I watched this video of him, and like his general philosophy:

As for the healthcare side....bear in mind that he will have an undersecretary for health.  The secretary has to do both the benefits side and the health side, which is why he has his two underlings. 

Per our American Legion Constitution we can't support or oppose someone for this position.  But I would encourage everyone to look at what the VA's actual problems are, and then try to see what kind of person they think can address those before you decide whatever you will about McDonald.  He may very well be a terrible pick, or the best one ever, I honestly have no clue, but I guess we shall see.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.