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.

Posted in the burner | 2 comments
 
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Comments

Best wishes for McDonald:
It is the practice for high ranking military officers, upon retirement, to be appointed to various jobs. I consider this to be a practice that is essentially an asset to governmental, and other organizations, by providing excellent managers where and when needed. This should be recognized as a beneficial facet of our form of government that we all profit by. Granted, in other nations such a practice can result in the prolongation of government corruption. This is not the case here, but some newsworthy mis-steps can result.
Eric Shinseki is a case in point. Without going into detail, his career as a military officer has been highly rated, and it has been noted that his perception and correction of operational failures on the military scene has added to the excellence of his personal history.
In view of his qualifications, and history then, there could have been no better choice for Secretary of the VA administration, a position he held for about five months.
The scandal of the VA mismanagement erupted during his tenure. I applaud the actions of the American Legion and the effect those actions have had influencing the major correction of what amounted to criminal mismanagement.
At this point comments by other members describe better what is being done to correct that culture of corruption, mismanagement, and arrogance, but as for Shinseki, now that the scope of that culture has been revealed, I believe that he had been given an impossible task when he was appointed secretary. Had he resigned about three or four months into his tenure and given reasons for his resignation that are now apparent, he would have been elevated to the highest of honors. Instead he has become the sacrificial lamb in an effort to appease public anger, and provide correction starting at the top. A matter of timing?
My feeling is that Shinseki is by qualification, ability and temperament, suited to any management job within the range of the possible fulfillment. He has suffered for the long standing actions of previous management, as well as failures widespread of competence, and of a corrupt nature.
I would be well pleased to see Eric Shinseki continue his outstanding career. He is too good a man for our country to lose his services.
Aside from the above, I am concerned that present ideas seem to be to throw money at the problem, while joining in the political blame game. Caution should be shown in sending patients to outside medical facilities. Great restraint should be shown considering the penchant of many outside medical facilities to 'pad the bill'. My own long experience with the current VA has been positive, with a few negative events. I hope that the changes in the making do not affect the very many good people I have found there.

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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.