LIGHTNING RELEASES: Las Vegas, NV (7/11/2014)- An already heated dispute between Operation:Heroes and Procter & Gamble just got hotter with Operation:Heroes’ Chief Operations Officer, Captain Chuck Foster, going on record to publicly express his concern about the recent nomination of former Procter and Gamble CEO, Bob McDonald, to head up the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Foster’s “going on record” includes contacting veterans support organizations and a large number of Senate and Congress members asking that McDonald’s handling of the failed Operation:Heroes mission, and his relationship to Sloan Gibson, acting V.A. Secretary, be considered in his vetting and confirmation process.
Concerns by Foster with the McDonald nomination, including his disclosed bias, stems from prior veteran-related dealings with McDonald which culminated in the Operation:Heroes vs. Procter & Gamble lawsuit filed on Feb. 10, 2012, in Nevada’s U.S. District Court (Case No. 2:12-cv-00214-LRH-GWF).
According to the O/H-P&G lawsuit, the O/H-P&G relationship began with Foster receiving an evening phone call from McDonald, then related follow-up emails regarding P&G’s potential sponsorship of a “thank you for your service” mission which the lawsuit describes as “an annual awards-type show entitled Operation:Heroes which, along with ancillary events and productions, was to honor, recognize and present Medals of Valor to peer-selected members of America’s military, law enforcement and firefighting personnel.”
The lawsuit further alleges the Operation:Heroes mission included a contracted “two-hour prime-time television special with the inaugural event to be nationally broadcast on the CBS television network … followed by a national media bus tour and production of a TV documentary with intent to annually produce and broadcast this event honoring new groups of peer-selected Heroes on subsequent Memorial Day weekends.”
The lawsuit also reveals, “As the result of a phone call to OH from P&G’s CEO, Robert McDonald” a meeting in Las Vegas took place to “discuss an exclusive presenting sponsorship and long-term partnership of the O/H event and the May 30, 2010 CBS television broadcast.”
“Ninety days later, the McDonald brokered P&G/Operation:Heroes contract was signed and the O/H mission was set into motion.”
Shortly after the contract signing, however, the lawsuit alleges P&G’s management, and others at P&G’s request, sought to take over, change, dictate and control the Operation:Heroes mission with demands that included $2+ million be added to the production budget to give the show a glitzy, Hollywood look modeled after P&G’s People’s Choice Awards.
“More problematic,” emphasizes Foster, “was P&G’s day-to-day interference and control attempts which, if not timely resolved, would have (and did have) predictable, catastrophic consequences, i.e., cancellation of the CBS broadcast and post-broadcast tour followed by previously referenced litigation.”
“Dispute resolution and problem solving can only work when the decision-makers are willing to meet, listen, talk about and, in good faith, attempt to negotiate with the objective being a fair and just disposition for all parties concerned. It’s called communication.” says Foster. “And to the ultimate decision-maker, it’s an essential leadership quality.”
“I was confident this type of involved communication with McDonald was possible – expected, actually – since he and I had specifically discussed the foreseeable and positive effect Operation Heroes would have on America’s 30+ million active duty, reserve, retired and veteran military, law enforcement, firefighter personnel, their organizations and families. Instead,” adds Foster, “my efforts to recruit McDonald’s personal involvement resulted in my email requests for McDonald’s involvement getting forwarded to P&G’s legal counsel for resolution.”
“Do I question McDonald’s intellect, honesty, or that his U.S. Military service was anything less than honorable? Absolutely not!” acknowledges Foster. “Nor do I question his being a good, well-intended person.”
“However,” Foster continues, “given McDonald’s West Point education, honorable service as a Captain in the U.S. Army, and with his brokering the P&G-O/H relationship, what I do question is McDonald’s failed leadership – specifically his refusal to even meet and talk about what could be done to prevent the Operation:Heroes mission from failing.”
“I’m also concerned,” emphasizes Foster, “about what America’s veterans — I being one of them — will think when they learn about McDonald’s refusal to help intervene and attempt to prevent the failure of Operation Heroes’ veteran-honoring mission?”
“The bigger issue,” emphasizes Foster, “is that Bob McDonald has no medical education or medical-related administrative history. That, coupled with the P&G/Operation:Heroes SNAFU and resulting litigation facts, it’s not unreasonable to question whether he’s the right person to fix and competently manage the V.A., or will his leadership style permit or contribute to the continuance of the current SNAFU state of affairs within the Department of Veterans Affairs that already jeopardizes the health and lives of our country’s military veterans?”
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