Building brands and especially building brand equity with world-class advertising, has been a lifelong passion for Edwin Artzt, despite being initially uncertain about what he wanted to do for a living when he graduated from the University of Oregon.
"I was interested in journalism, television production and advertising," he once said. To decide, he took jobs in all three professions at once working as a sportswriter for a local newspaper in the mornings, as a copywriter at an advertising agency in the afternoons and as an assistant television producer on weekends. It was a demanding schedule but it led Artzt to the conclusion that would shape the rest of his career: his future was in advertising.
In 1953 Artzt joined Procter & Gamble’s advertising organization and quickly began to make his mark on the brands in his care. His first success was Comet, a fledging household cleanser that became that market leader on the strength of compelling advertising and an aggressive sampling campaign. Other brands, including Zest bar soap, Charmin bath tissue, Bounty paper towels and Folgers coffee benefited from his leadership.
Ed Artzt served as chairman and chief executive of Procter & Gamble for five years, from 1990 to 1995. During that time, P&G’s sales grew from $21 billion to $33 billion. Earnings more than doubled, growing from $1.2 billion to $2.6 billion and annual growth rate of 14 percent, well above the company’s historic average.
Artzt also has brought a high caliber of leadership to activities outside P&G. He serves as a director on the boards of American Express, Delta Airlines, GTE and Teradyne. He has been active in foreign affairs and an influential advocate of world trade, particularly through his strong support of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. He has served as a member of President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations.