President Barack Obama has selected former Procter & Gamble Chief Executive Bob McDonald to head Veterans Affairs, The Associated Press reported Sunday.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, McDonald would replace acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, who replaced Eric Shinseki as head of the embattled federal agency at the end of May.
Shinseki’s tenure was plagued by “systemic” issues and mismanagement at a number of VA health care centres. A high-profile report in April claimed 40 or more veterans may have died at a Phoenix center while awaiting care.
McDonald naturally brings a record of military service to the position. According to his company biography, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army for five years, including in the 82nd Airborne.
“During his service, he not only completed his qualifications for Airborne, Ranger, Jungle, Arctic and Desert Warfare, Jumpmaster, Expert Infantry, and Senior Parachutist, but also earned an MBA from the University of Utah in 1978. Upon leaving the military he received the Meritorious Service Medal,” the bio noted.
Supporters of McDonald were quick to issue supportive statements, Reuters reported.
“Bob is an immensely gifted and caring individual. That was evident to me when we first met as cadets at West Point, over 40 years ago,” retired Major General James “Spider” Marks said in a statement. “He came from a military family, and knows the challenges from living them.”
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney praised McDonald’s corporate experience.
“Prior to retirement, he navigated Procter and Gamble through the difficult post-financial-crisis years, where he expanded business in developing markets and made substantial progress improving the efficiency of the company’s internal operations,” McNerney said.
Obama is expected to officially announce McDonald’s selection sometime this week, possibly as soon as Monday.
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