The White House’s response to the crisis in the Department of Veterans Affairs was set to enter a new stage on Monday, when President Barack Obama was expected to name former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as VA secretary.
The announcement was set to take place exactly a month after former secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amid reports that thousands of veterans waited excessively long periods of time for appointments at VA facilities. Various media reports also revealed secret waiting lists were maintained in an effort to manipulate actual wait times.
While best known for his work in the private sector, McDonald graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point before spending more than three decades at P&G, including four as chief executive.
A White House official told Politico that McDonald’s experience has him well prepared "for a huge agency with management issues."
According to NBC News, McDonald may prove a better leader at the VA than at P&G prior to his 2013 retirement because he’s "a leader with high marks" in terms of changing culture. Issues facing the VA include sinking employee morale, veterans’ distrust of the agency, a lack of feedback, and a waning budget.
The expected appointment of a private-sector executive instead of one from the military or healthcare sector speaks to the severity of issues in the department, according to The Washington Post.