Proctor & Gamble products on display at a Chinese supermarket. (Photo/CNS)
A Chinese executive at multinational consumer goods company Proctor & Gamble has been forced to resign after his wife reported him for corruption, reports China National Radio, the national radio station of the People's Republic of China.
Zhai Feng, the former president of sales for P&G's Greater China region, allegedly handed in his resignation at the end of last year after his wife reported him to the company's headquarters in the United States for engaging in corrupt activities. Zhai's wife apparently decided to end her husband's career in a moment of fury following a domestic argument.
Zhai's downfall was followed two months later by the resignation of Dr Richard Chen, president of P&G's Beijing research and development center, for "personal reasons." There is speculation that Chen, a former scientist at American skincare line Olay, left P&G due to frustrations over budget constraints, though the close proximity to Zhai's resignation has fueled rumors of a possible connection.
A staff member at P&G told China National Radio that corruption is easy to perpetuate in the marketing department due to the large budgets and sizable rebates from advertising agencies commissioned to work on promotions and campaigns. The lack of oversight has nurtured a mentality that if they do not pocket the money themselves then someone else will, the worker said.
Some industry analysts say the recent loss of key personnel at P&G is more a reflection of the company's long term problems of uneven distribution of benefits and resources. Brand expert Wang Qi said since research and development is regarded as a back-end department, staff salaries tend to be lower than those from front-end departments such as sales. Every company will take into account which departments are making them the most money and distribute benefits and resources accordingly, he added.
Other industry insiders believe staff are leaving P&G due to low salaries and internal conflict between departments. However, business observer Lu Xinzhi believes that staff expectations need to be adjusted in light of the state of the global economy and narrowing profit margins across the industry.
Zhai Feng 翟峰
Wang Qi 王啟
Lu Xinzhi 陸新之