Procter & Gamble CEO: Congress Must Pass Bailout

Chief executive of consumer products maker says customers and suppliers are feeling pinched by the credit crunch and urged congressional leaders to pass financial bailout.

CINCINNATI (AP) -- The chief executive of consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. says its customers and suppliers are feeling pinched by the credit crunch and congressional leaders must pass a financial bailout.

A.G. Lafley, in a guest column in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday, asked people to talk to their lawmakers to get a bailout passed and tell them how they're affected by financial turmoil.

His company, which makes products like Tide detergent, Gillette shavers and Olay skin care, is hearing concerns from consumers about the economy and their future, he said. They're worried about securing financing for homes and cars, and worried about losing their retirement savings as the stock market drops.

He said Procter & Gamble isn't seeing its sales affected, but the crunch is hurting small and midsized suppliers, because they're can't get enough money to run their businesses. That means they can't expand with new employees and equipment or fulfill new contracts, and those worries then go right back to consumers.

"When consumers see their employers struggling, and also have doubts about their own financial security including the availability of credit to them, their confidence erodes," he wrote.

Lafley did not offer up specific suggestions for a bailout. His letter comes after the House on Monday defeated a $700 billion emergency rescue for the nation's financial system. The stunning defeat of the package sought by bipartisan leaders and the Bush administration shook investors, who sent the Dow Jones industrials plunging 778 points. It was the biggest ever drop in a single day.

A new version of the package was expected to be put up for a Senate vote Wednesday night.

Procter & Gamble's stock has done well in recent weeks, even as other stocks see volatile swings or erode on credit concerns. The company's shares rose 86 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $70.55 in midday trading Wednesday, approaching a 52-week high of $75.18. The stock has traded as low as $60.05 in the same span.

More in Supply Chain