CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s former chairman and CEO John Smale — who was instrumental in creating a new vision for P&G to be a truly global company focused on providing an even broader range of innovative products to the world’s consumers — died on Nov. 19. He was 84.
Current chairman and CEO Bob McDonald reflected on the influence Smale had on himself and others, "I will remember John most for his character and how he represented the soul of the company: Purpose-inspired, caring yet demanding, principled, and humble."
Smale joined P&G in 1952, working in the company’s dentifrice business, first with the Gleem brand and later with the Crest brand, where he played a key role in convincing the American Dental Association to recognize Crest as effective against tooth decay, P&G stated.
In 1981, he became the seventh CEO in the history of the company. Under his leadership, P&G set its sights on becoming a global company with an even broader range of products. The company entered 15 new categories of business, expanded operations into 23 new countries, and doubled sales and earnings to more than $24 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively. P&G stated that, during this time, it reshaped its approach to all aspects of the business, creating category management of similar products, restructuring its entire supply chain for greater efficiency, and creating the first retailer-based sales teams.
In 1990, Smale stepped down from the position of chairman CEO.
"The one thing that distinguishes John’s career as the leader of our company has been his remarkable record as an agent for change," stated Ed Artzt, the CEO who succeeded Smale.
Smale is preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis. John and Phyllis are survived by their four children, John Gray, Jr., Catherine Anne, Lisa Beth, and Peter McKee.