(August 13, 2021) Way back in 1989, when Shailesh Jejurikar joined Procter & Gamble’s Personal Health Care team in India as assistant brand manager, he was a fresh out of college youngster, with stars in his eyes and an ambition to one day make it big. Over 32 years later, that day has arrived: 54-year-old Jejurikar will be the first Indian to take over as P&G’s global COO come October 2021.
Did you know that Shailesh Jejurikar, the Global President of P & G, was once the head boy and is currently a proud alumnus of HPS?!#HPSBegumpet #HPS #Begumpet #Alumni #ShaileshJejurikar pic.twitter.com/vR8RXSukPT
— HPS Begumpet (@HpsBegumpet) November 29, 2019
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the Mumbai-born executive, has had a long innings with the Ohio-headquartered consumer goods major. His career at the company has spanned multiple businesses and is actively driving P&G’s “force for good and a force for growth” vision to ensure the company’s sustainability goals are integrated in its day-to-day business. Currently the CEO of the company’s largest business line, Fabric & Home Care, which accounts for more than a third of P&G’s $71 billion sales as of 2020, Jejurikar oversees 18,000 employees globally. This Global Indian is also responsible for over a dozen iconic brands such as Bounce, Downy, Gain, Tide, Cascade, Dawn, Febreeze, Mr Clean, and Swiffer.
From Mumbai to the world
Born in Mumbai in 1966, Jejurikar studied at the prestigious Hyderabad Public School (1984 batch) and counts Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as his classmate. His batchmates describe him as a cheerful person and a natural leader. In an interview with The Hindu, his batchmate and champion race horse trainer Pratap Kamat, said, “He used to take everyone along with him and Satya (Nadella) always hung around him. They were very close as both of them played cricket.”
Jejurikar went on to graduate from Mumbai University with a BA in Economics in 1987 and then did his MBA from IIM-Lucknow.
Innings with Procter & Gamble
In 1989, he joined P&G’s Personal Health Care department as assistant brand manager, before also working in the company’s Skin Care and Personal Care Cleansing divisions. By 1999 he was the company’s marketing director in India and in 2000 he moved to Singapore as Marketing Director, Fabric & Home Care, ASEAN, Australia, India and Korea-Singapore. Since, he has worked in the company’s North America offices and grew to become the CEO of the company’s largest business line, Fabric & Home Care and eventually settled in Geneva, Switzerland.
Quite the jetsetter until the pandemic, Jejurikar would frequently travel to P&G’s various offices to interact with his teams. In an interview with Business Insider, Jejurikar said that his typical 12-hour workday begins at 5 am and is driven by where he happens to be in the world, whether at home in Geneva or at the P&G headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Known to lead with a growth mindset, he has been able to help his teams navigate the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic and has more than doubled the pace of growth for his unit, from 5% in Q2 2020 to 12% in Q2 2021.
Congratulations to P&G CEO of Fabric and Home Care, Shailesh Jejurikar for being recognized as one of the most impactful Asians and Asian-Americans & Pacific Islanders on this year’s @GoldhouseCo’s #A100 list. #AAPIHeritageMonth #UniqueAndUnited https://t.co/5B3ZQ0vBjp
— Procter & Gamble (@ProcterGamble) May 17, 2021
In his new role as the company’s global COO, Jejurikar will also have profit and loss responsibility for P&G’s Enterprise Market-Latin America, India, Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe. He will also lead information technology, global business services, sales, market operations, new business, purchasing, manufacturing, and distribution efforts for the company.
As executive sponsor of P&G’s sustainability program, he works with the company’s chief sustainability officer on products such as EC30 swatches, a waterless form of shampoos and cleaners that are in development to fight climate change.
Quite the innovator, Jejurikar when faced with the dilemma of how to create products for an unknown marketplace, developed a process called ‘progility’ where he challenges his teams to question paradigms of what’s assumed to be true. “In the case of Downy Unstoppable Beads, everyone assumed no one would want a fabric enhancer during a pandemic, yet it would go on to become one of Fabric & Home Care’s fastest-growing businesses,” Jejurikar told Business Insider.
“The only way to anticipate change is to commit to learning. Asking questions, being curious, listening carefully to the responses. A leader should always say, ‘I knew,’ never, ‘I know.'”