Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama has chosen retired Procter & Gamble chairman, president and CEO Robert A. McDonald to head the Veterans Affairs Department, according to White House officials.
The officials said Obama will formally announce McDonald’s appointment on Monday. The 61-year-old McDonald, also a West Point graduate, will replace former Army general Eric Shinseki, who resigned as VA secretary last month amid the scandal of delayed healthcare of VA members.
McDonald oversaw 120,000 employees of P&G in the 33 years he served the company that makes consumer products like toothpaste, diapers and detergents. When he is confirmed by the Senate, he will be heading an organization that has members many times the size of the P&G workforce: eight million veterans.
He is also expected to clean the agency of corrupt officials and employees responsible for the delay in medical appointments of veterans that led to deaths.
An internal review of the VA submitted to Obama on Friday found more cleaning up needed for the agency running 150 hospitals and 820 outpatient clinics that treat 6 million veterans year because it is allegedly mired in a “corrosive culture” among workers and supervisors that led to the cover-up of slow delivery of healthcare services.
Obama’s choice as VA head breaks a tradition of retired military officers heading the agency, though McDonald also served five years in the Army and was the son of an Army Air Corps World War II veteran and has an uncle who served in the Vietnam War.
The VA scandal erupted when a retired doctor of a VA hospital in Phoenix blew the whistle on
hundreds of veterans not being seen quickly by doctors allegedly resulting in 40 patients dying.
An investigation by the agency’s inspector general along with an internal VA audit found that VA officials and employees were falsifying records to make it appear that there is no delay in services.