A.G. Lafley ’69
It surprised no one that you – a former president, CEO, and chairman of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods company – were remarkably on brand when you spoke at Hamilton’s commencement in 2012.
“Choose to Know Thyself,” you told the graduates that morning. And a year earlier, in an op-ed for a national media outlet, you offered this advice: “[P]ursue a liberal arts education. For most people, it’s the best foundation for a successful career.”
If anyone knows about staying on brand, it’s someone who spent 30 years building some of the world’s most iconic consumer products. Fortune said you “transformed” Procter & Gamble “from an unfocused collection of famous brands into an innovation machine,” making P&G one of the world’s most admired companies and you one of the world’s most admired CEOs. Your 2008 co-authored book, The Game-Changer, a playbook for innovation in business, was aptly called “a game-changing book that helps you redefine your leadership and improve your management game.” A second co-authored book, Playing to Win, was a noted Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestseller.
In 2008, you told Hamilton Magazine, “The most important thing in my view is simply the ability to learn how to think and to learn how to communicate. ... And what you learn at a college like Hamilton is how to think about ideas in a way that brings them to life. I've been a strong proponent of maintaining the focus on clear written and oral communication because I believe very deeply that one has to be able to think clearly before one can communicate clearly.”
A native of Keene, N.H., you graduated from Hamilton in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in history, and from Harvard Business School in 1977 with a master’s degree in business administration. Before joining P&G in marketing, you were an officer in the U.S. Navy for five years.
Besides serving as one of Hamilton’s most visible brand ambassadors, you have volunteered for your alma mater as an Annual Fund chair, alumni trustee, charter trustee, and now life trustee. You were chair of the Hamilton Board of Trustees from 2008 to 2013, a period that coincided with the College’s decision to become need-blind in admission. Not surprisingly, you earlier reinforced Hamilton’s identity as a school of opportunity by establishing the A.G. Lafley Family Scholarship. You’ve also been a leadership donor to scholarships and professorships that honor fellow Hamiltonians, and challenged others to establish endowed funds at the College as well.
Hamilton brands its highest honor as the Bell Ringer Award. Now it’s our turn to stay on brand by naming you this year’s recipient.
John J. Christopher ’83, P’14
President, Alumni Association
June 10, 2023