Obama announced at the Veterans Administration building that he is
nominating Bob McDonald, a former chief executive of Procter &
Gamble, to be the next secretary of veterans affairs. Obama called
McDonald "one of our nation's most accomplished business leaders and
"We've got to regain the trust of our veterans with a VA that is
more effective, more efficient and that truly puts veterans first.
Bob is the manager we need to help get this done," Obama said.
McDonald, 61, would succeed Eric Shinseki, who resigned amid a
scandal over widespread delays in getting healthcare to veterans.
Unlike Shinseki, McDonald did not spend a career in the military but
instead spent 33 years in the corporate world after serving in the
Army's 82nd Airborne Division and graduating from the U.S. Military
Some veterans groups were surprised by the choice and expressed
concern that the White House had not discussed McDonald with them in
In addition, some expressed concern that McDonald may not have a
contemporary background in the veterans community, which has tried
to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan cope with
devastating injuries, combat suicides and to improve access to
"He doesn't appear to have had much experience or exposure to Iraq-
or Afghanistan-era veterans so thatís something that we hope he gets
up to speed on and in the loop as quickly as possible," said Alex
Nicholson, legislative director for the Iraq and Afghanistan
Veterans of America organization.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest, peppered with questions about
McDonald at his daily briefing, said McDonald was chosen because of
his record as a solid manager.
"This is somebody who has a lot of experience and has enjoyed a lot
of success in managing a large company," Earnest said.
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Key senators who will consider McDonald's nomination have not raised
any major concerns, suggesting a confirmation process that could be
relatively free of fireworks.
In fact, McDonald's history of contributing to Republican political
campaigns could end up helping him. The Ohio native contributed to
the campaign of Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, who has
McDonald retired abruptly from P&G a year ago in the midst of a
major restructuring at the company.
"He's no-nonsense. He's pragmatic. He does not seek the limelight,"
Obama said of McDonald.
McDonald vowed to carry out Obama's promise to turn the VA - which a
White House report found is mired in chronic failures and suffers
from a "corrosive culture" among its employees - into a more
"If confirmed by the Senate, my priority would be to lead that
transformation. My life's purpose has been to improve the lives of
others," he said.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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