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White House to nominate former CEO to lead the VA

Bob McDonald, on the right, meets with Romanian President Traian Basescu.
Bob McDonald, on the right, meets with Romanian President Traian Basescu.
Daniel Mihailescu / AFP via Getty Images

The White House will nominate former Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald to act as the new head of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, a senior Obama administration official confirmed Sunday.

The McDonald pick underscores the management problems uncovered through the VA scandal. Late Friday, the White House released a report that found a lack of accountability at the VA and a culture of distrust between management and staff at the agency. By picking a retired corporate executive instead of continuing the tradition of tapping a former military general, the White House is signaling that it wants someone who can seriously change the management structure across the VA's health-care system.

McDonald does, however, have some ties to the military. He graduated near the top of his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the military for five years.

Later on, McDonald took an entry-level job at Procter & Gamble. He eventually worked up the company, which is known for products like Tide detergent and Charmin toilet paper.

McDonald abruptly retired from Procter & Gamble, Business Insider reported, after analysts and investors complained about reductions in profit forecasts. McDonald went through a few failed experiments during his tenure, including a botched attempt to focus on social and online media to reduce Procter & Gamble's reliance on paid advertising.

The Senate will need to sign off on the McDonald nomination before he's put in charge of the VA. Democrats nuked the minority's power to filibuster nominees earlier this year, and the VA scandal is still a pressing concern to lawmakers. So it seems likely the Democratic-controlled Senate will move quickly on his nomination.