University of Utah alumnus Robert McDonald has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be the secretary of Veterans Affairs. McDonald earned his MBA from the David Eccles School of Business in 1978 and went on to work at Procter & Gamble Co., in 1980, where he held numerous leadership roles, including CEO, president and chairman of the board. Prior to attending the U, McDonald graduated from West Point and served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.
McDonald has shared his business acumen with universities across the globe, including the University of Utah. In 2012, McDonald delivered the annual Spencer Fox Eccles Convocation Address at the U, where he stressed the importance of improving lives and having a sense of purpose. He also recounted an experience early in his career at P&G when he was charged with the development of the detergent Solo. That product is no longer on store shelves, but the mishaps along the way helped in the success of a new detergent, Tide, which is the top-selling laundry detergent in the world today.
“The most confident and effective leaders I know are those who are more than willing to mention when they make a mistake,” McDonald said. “Those are the kinds of leaders that we need in our world today.”
In that same address, McDonald attributed part of his success to a U marketing professor, Gary Grikscheit. Video of that speech can be viewed here.
In 2010, the U honored McDonald with its Founders Day Award for his outstanding and distinguished professional achievements. A Chicago native, McDonald discusses his upbringing and principles in this video produced for the 2010 Founders Day award ceremony.