Procter and Gamble

Company: Procter and Gamble

Founder: William Procter and James Gamble

Industry: Consumer goods

History:

Although Procter and Gamble is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, its founders’ roots trace back to Ireland and England. William Procter and James Gamble came from England and Ireland respectively. Upon the suggestion of their father-in-law, both men formed a business partnership and in 1837, their company was formally named Procter and Gamble.

Before marrying the Norris sisters, Procter was already a distinguished candle maker and Gamble was apprentice to a soap maker. With their new enterprise, the company was quick to establish itself as a leading manufacturer of candles and soap. One of their notable contracts was to provide soap and candles to the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Twenty-two years after its birth, Procter and Gamble’s sales reached $1 million, and 80 people under its employ.

The invention of the light bulb in the late 19th century had a huge impact on the candle-making industry. With the advent of a new source of artificial light, sales dropped and ultimately, Procter and Gamble halted their candle operation in 1920 and shifted their focus to soap manufacturing and distribution.

The enterprise rapidly grew in the 20th century. The company began to venture outside the soap business and explored possibilities in the foods industry. Their first non-soap product since they shut down their candle operation was Crisco, a shortening made of pure vegetable oil instead of animal fats.

Through a series of acquisitions, Procter and Gamble is presently one of the largest companies in the world. They are ranked 28th largest in terms of revenues and 14th largest in terms of profits in the Unites States. Fortune Magazine listed Procter and Gamble 10th in their Most Admired Companies list.

Leadership:

Procter and Gamble Board of Directors

  • Ernesto Zedillo – representing Alcoa, Inc.
  • Bruce Byrnes – representing Procter & Gamble Co
  • Scott D. Cook – representing Intuit Inc.
  • Rajat Gupta – representing Scandent Group Ltd.
  • A.G. Lafley – Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President
  • Charles R. Lee – representing United Technologies Corp.
  • Lynn M. Martin – representing Procter & Gamble Co.
  • W. James McNerney, Jr. – representing Boeing Co.
  • Johnathan Rodgers – representing TV One, LLC
  • John F. Smith, Jr. – representing Procter & Gamble Co.
  • Ralph Snyderman – representing Duke University Health System
  • Patricia Woertz – representing Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.
  • Margaret Whitman – representing DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.
  • Kenneth Chenault – representing American Express Company

Trivia: The term ‘soap opera’ was coined in the early 20th century when radio dramas, or operas, were heavily sponsored by soap brands, mostly by Procter and Gamble.

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