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Laurent L. Philippe, Procter & Gamble: Women are key to P&G success in Africa

Laurent L. PhilippeWomen are at the heart of consumer giant Procter & Gamble’s drive to build business and organisations for sustainable growth in emerging markets like sub-Saharan Africa.

MBA students attending the opening Cambridge Leadership Seminar of the new academic year heard Laurent Philippe, Group President of P&G’s Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa division and in charge of the company’s Global High Frequency Stores, talked about successes in China and Russia before turning to the challenges ahead in emerging markets.

Mr Philippe said women are important in any country for P&G as they make about 70 per cent of all purchase decisions, including decisions over men’s products. In Africa, this was even more true:

In Africa the woman, the mother, the wife is really at the centre of the family chessboard. She earns a living, she often manages the disposable income of the total home – she’s the boss.

If we can turn this leadership of the family into making her an ally of our brands it’s a tremendous point of advantage because she has the credibility, the authority within the direct household, but also among her lady friends.”

Mr Philippe, who has been with the global giant for 36 years, told us in an interview for Cambridge Judge Business School’s website that women’s clubs in the African townships are ‘”incredibly powerful politically, socially. They are thought leaders and turning these women into friends is a tremendous asset for Procter & Gamble”.