Robert McDonald
Robert McDonald
Company: Procter & Gamble
Fortune 500 Rank: 27

Robert McDonald wanted to enroll in West Point long before he legally could. In fact, at 11 years old, he wrote his local Congressman asking for a recommendation to the school. Though that didn't pan out immediately, McDonald did enroll when he hit the legal age. He graduated in the top 2% of his class with a B.S. in engineering in 1975.

Though he could have joined the Army Corps of Engineers, McDonald joined the infantry instead. He told Fortune in 2009, "I figured -- and this is the story of my life, really, if you're gonna be in the Army, go into the infantry. If you're going to be in marketing, work for P&G. You don't do things halfway."

And indeed, in 1980, right after he got out of the military, McDonald started working in P&G's marketing division. He climbed to the top of the company, becoming CEO in 2009.

By Shelley DuBois, writer-reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 07 2012: 9:53 AM ET
Join the Conversation
The Top 50

Exxon Mobil knocks Wal-Mart from the top spot. Who else made the top 50 this year?

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.