10 Things You Didn’t Know about W.W. Grainger CEO Donald Macpherson

Founded in 1927 by William W. Grainger, W.W. Grainger is a US based industrial supply chain company. Thanks to offerings such as motors, lighting, plumbing, tools and inventory management services and technical support, the firm has grown significantly in recent years, and now serves more than 3 million customers across the globe. Donald G. Macpherson (known as DG), assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of W.W. Grainger, Inc. in October 01, 2016, and has been its Chairman since the retirement of his predecessor, Jim Ryan, in October 2017. After joining the firm in 2008, MacPherson’s career has gone from strength to strength. As well as furthering his own ambitions, he’s also been instrumental in furthering those of W.W. Grainger, with the company enjoying year on year growth under his leadership. Read on to discover more about the career of one of America’s top business-people.

1. Education

Macpherson obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Stanford University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

2. Past Career

Before joining W.W. Grainger, Mr. Macpherson worked for 12 years at Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm. His last position at the company was as Partner and Managing director, a position he occupied from 2002 to 2008. He’s also previously acted as Operations Manager at Rain Bird Sprinkler Manufacturing Corp, and as a test engineer for the US Air Force.

3. Career with W.W. Grainger

Mr. Macpherson joined W.W. Grainger in 2008 as Senior Vice President and Head of Global Supply Chain, and has steadily worked his way up the ranks. In 2012, he was appointed Senior Vice President and President of Global Supply Chain and Corporate Strategy. In August 2013, he moved to Senior Vice President and Group President of Global Supply Chain & International, a position he occupied until his promotion to Chief Operating Officer in August 2015. In October 2016, Macpherson took on the responsibility of Chief Executive Officer. His metaphoric rise reached its conclusion in October 2017, when he was elected Company Chairman.

4. Vote of Confidence

MacPherson succeeded Jim Ryan in the role of Company Chairman. Ryan, who’s tenure as CEO dated back to 2008, was very positive about his choice of replacement, noting “I’ve worked with DG for many years, and I’m confident that he is the right person for this job and now is the right time for this transition. We have a sound business, a solid strategy, a competitive advantage and a long-term plan in place to extend our leadership in this industry. DG has been instrumental, with the rest of our leadership team, in getting us to this point and he is ready to take us forward. “

5. Successes at W.W. Grainger

Since joining W.W Grainger, Macpherson has demonstrated considerable expertise across a range of projects, and has strengthened the company’s portfolio significantly. Successes include developing the company strategy; supervising the launch of Zoro, W.W. Grainger’s U.S. single channel business; developing the firms’s global supply chain capabilities, and managing the realignment of the U.S. business to enhance the customer experience via improved end- to- end service for customers of all sizes.

6. Wealth

Macpherson is a wealthy man, with reports estimating his total compensation for 2018 as $6,966,360. This includes $2,232,750 in annual compensation for his role as Chief Executive Officer of W.W. Grainger, $2,634,040 in restricted stock options and 2,099,570 in other compensation.

7. Key Shareholder

In February 2019, Macpherson sold 2317 shares of W.W. Grainger stock. The stock sold at an average price of $310.03. The total transaction was worth $718,339.51. Further to the sale, Macpherson now owns 45,848 shares of the company’s stock, with an approximate value of $14,214,255.44.

8. Employee Ratings

According to Comparably.com, Macpherson enjoys a score of 78/100 in employee ratings, which puts W.W. Grainger within the top 5% of companies in the US with a staff of 10,000+ . The breakdown of employee satisfaction shows higher ratings from male employees than from females (with a score of 79/100). Macpherson is particularly well regarded by the Engineering department of the company, and by Hispanic or Latino employees who have served 1 year or less with the company. Employees who have been with the company for 10 years+, along with the Legal and IT departments, score the CEO less favorably.

9. Boards

As well as occupying the position of CEO at W.W Grainger, Macpherson also serves on the board of Acklands – Grainger, Inc., American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and Grainger Global Online Business Ltd.

10. Customer Focused

Under Macpherson’s leadership, W.W. Grainger has taken strides to improve the customer experience. 2018 saw the company drive considerable share gains across large and midsize customers, thanks to a value proposition that’s based on relevant pricing. Macpherson has also enhanced the customer experience across the US thanks to his mission to improve the end- to- end customer experience from order to delivery. Feedback from customers has shown continual improvement during Macpherson’s tenure as chairman.


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