Robert A. “Bob” McDonald was nominated by President Obama to serve as the eighth Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), and he was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on July 29, 2014.
Secretary McDonald led VA in its ambitious transformational journey to be a world-class service provider and the No. 1 customer-service agency in the Federal government. His goal was to give Veterans consistent, high-quality experiences.
Secretary McDonald’s five Veteran-centric strategies effectively improved the Veteran experience, improved the employee experience so employees could better serve Veterans, improved internal support services, established a strong foundation for VA’s growing culture of continuous improvement, and enhanced strategic partnerships across the country. By the end of Secretary McDonald’s tenure, Veterans at all VA Medical Centers had access to same-day services in primary and mental health care when needed right away, among many other improvements.
The Harvard Business School judged that, thanks to Secretary McDonald’s leadership, the MyVA “team had made impressive progress.” And 20 Veteran Service Organization national presidents, executive directors, CEOs, and founders concluded that Secretary McDonald’s strategies “have the potential to . . . make VA a model agency.”
Before joining VA, Bob McDonald was Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G). Under his leadership, P&G significantly recalibrated its product portfolio, expanded its marketing footprint by adding nearly one billion people to its global customer base, and grew the firm’s organic sales by an average of three percent per year. This growth was reflected in P&G’s stock price, which rose from $51.10 the day he became CEO to $81.64 on the day his last quarterly results were announced—a 60 percent increase from 2009 to 2013.
During his tenure, P&G was widely recognized for its leader development prowess. In 2012, Chief Executive Magazine named P&G the best company for developing leader talent. The Hay Group, a global management consulting firm, consistently cited P&G in its top-tier listing of the Best Companies for Leadership. The company received recognition for its environmental and social sustainability initiatives, including the Department of State’s Award for Corporate Excellence for P&G’s operations in Pakistan and Nigeria. In addition, using the company’s innovative water purification packets, P&G committed itself to the 2020 goal of “saving one life every hour” by annually providing two billion liters of clean drinking water to people in the world’s developing countries.
Bob McDonald is personally and professionally committed to values-based leadership and to improving the lives of others. Bob and his wife, Diane, are the founders of The 2 McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character at West Point—an annual gathering that brings together the brightest young minds from the best universities around the world and partners them with senior business, nongovernmental organization, and government leaders in a multi-day interactive learning experience.
The recipient of numerous leadership awards and honorary degrees, in 2010, the University of Utah Alumni Association named Bob a Distinguished Graduate. The West Point Association of Graduates named McDonald for its admired Distinguished Graduate Award in 2017, recognition provided annually to “West Point graduates whose character, distinguished service and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives.” In 2014, The President of the Republic of Singapore awarded Bob the Public Service Star for his work helping shape Singapore’s development as an international hub connecting global companies with Asian firms and enterprises.
Bob is Chairman of the Board of RallyPoint Networks, Inc.—an online community of active duty military members and Veterans. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Partnership for Public Service, Audia International, Inc., the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy, the Boulder Crest Retreat Foundation, and the McCormick Research Institute in Orlando, Florida.
Bob McDonald graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1975. He earned his MBA from the University of Utah in1978. An Army Veteran, Bob served with the 82nd Airborne Division. He completed Jungle, Arctic, and Desert Warfare training. And he earned the Ranger tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge, and Senior Parachutist wings. Upon leaving military service, then-Captain McDonald was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.
Bob McDonald and his wife are the parents of two grown children and the proud grandparents of two grandsons and one granddaughter.