John E. Pepper is an influential leader to The Procter & Gamble Company, one of the world's leading advertisers. Throughout his career, he led some of P&G's most successful advertising campaigns and most significant advertising innovations. From developing revolutionary advertising on Dash Detergent to the implementation of a new agency compensation system, he had a profound impact on P&G and the advertising industry.
Pepper served as the ninth chairman of the board and chief executive of Procter & Gamble and retired in 2002 after 38 years of service. He joined Procter & Gamble in 1963 and in his early years served as a brand manager for Cascade, building not only a brand but an entire category. His expertise led to campaigns for All-Temperature Cheer, Bounce dryer sheets and Downy fabric softener, which contributed to P&G's dominance in this category.
He became general manager of Procter & Gamble Italia in 1974, returned to the U.S. in 1978, and was elected group vice president in 1980. In 1984, he was elected to the board of directors and was named president in 1986. Dedicated to educating professionals about the power of advertising, he implemented the first P&G Advertising Awards program that year, showcasing examples of P&G brands that had grown due primarily to advertising. Renamed the Global Brand Building Awards, the program is still strong in 2003 with 300 nominations submitted by P&G marketers and their agency partners.
Pepper was also a champion of global expansion, pushing P&G to quickly enter Central and Eastern Europe, especially Russia and China. Pepper, who is also known for his deep and abiding commitment to diversity, built an open, multicultural company, recognizing that a diverse workforce is a business imperative in a highly diverse global marketplace.
Pepper's leadership was instrumental in the implementation of an entirely new agency compensation system. This new model tied the success of P&G brands to the success of their agencies. His belief in the power of this type of interdependence between agency and client influenced many in the industry to follow, and as a result a new era in agency/client relationship began.
Pepper is a member of the board of many companies, including the Xerox Corporation, Motorola Inc. and the Boston Scientific Corporation. He is deeply committed to community service, particularly education. He served as a fellow of The Yale Corporation for eight years, the last two as senior fellow. He was recently named vice president of finance and administration for Yale University. He also served as chairman of the United States Advisory Committee for Trade and Policy Negotiations and of the Ohio Business Roundtable and the Greater Cincinnati United Way Campaign. Pepper graduated from Yale University in 1960, and holds honorary doctorate degrees from Xavier University, Ohio State University, Mount St. Joseph College and St. Petersburg University (Russia).
Deeply committed to the youth of today, Pepper founded and is vice chairman of the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative. He advocates mentoring and has served as a mentor for numerous students. He serves on the boards of The Partnership for a Drug Free America, Xavier University and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Pepper also serves as a co-chairman of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Development Campaign and is a member of its executive committee.