President Trump has announced his intention to replace Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, with Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been scandal plagued for years, delivering poor quality services to this nation’s heroes since its inception, and especially since its elevation to a cabinet Department in 1988. Its nine VA Secretaries have each failed to bring order from chaos and corruption. Many observers are skeptical that physician Ronny Jackson has the managerial and leadership skills to fare any better than his predecessors.
Whether or not Ronny Jackson receives the requisite senate confirmation is yet to be seen. If so, the question still looms: can a military physician successfully tame a toxic bureaucracy that is the very embodiment of what the president vehemently terms ‘the swamp’?
Mr. President, to bring order and heartfelt camaraderie and efficacy to the VA we suggest that you take a very close look at longtime friend and advocate of our men and women in uniform, Bob Nardelli, who currently serves on the Wounded Warriors Project Board of Directors. The WWP Board of Directors is responsible for guiding the organization, and providing strategic and financial oversight, and Bob Nardelli has certainly fulfilled that mandate.
What will Bob Nardelli bring to the VA? Allow me to share a portion of what he has accomplished with his time, and moreover, his willingness to work hard to serve organizations and their members and beneficiaries.
The Home Depot. As the Chairman and CEO of The Home Depot he doubled its size and organized it into a well oiled machine–a machine with a heart, nonetheless, strengthening employees’ families and establishing strong ties to America’s military branches and veterans’ organizations. At the time Nardelli took the helm, The Home Depot was a $45 billion decentralized ‘family’ company with little ability to leverage its size. Bob moved quickly to create an information and supply-chain infrastructure that, along with other operational and growth enhancements, generated more than 20% average annual earnings growth over the next six years. Under his leadership, Home Depot‘s revenues grew from $45 billion to $91 billion, while net earnings more than doubled, from $2.5 billion to $5.7 billion. The company also added more than 1,000 new stores and more than 135,000 jobs, soon becoming the world’s second largest retailer.
Chrysler. Bob was named Chairman and CEO of struggling Chrysler, and recognized the early signs of the looming global financial crisis. He was the first Big Three CEO to predict significantly lower new car sales for 2008 and beyond. Bob and his team quickly reduced Chrysler’s footprint in advance of the downturn, while simultaneously repaying a billion dollars of its debt, and accelerating new product development while introducing a range of fuel-efficient an award-winning vehicles. They also laid the groundwork for a partnership with Fiat. Industry analysts and Fiat itself would later say that these bold move saved Chrysler from extinction and allowed it to emerge from its restructuring in under two months, with a new product line intact and a distribution network that would make it a truly global player in the automotive industry.
As a civic-minded executive, Nardelli has chaired the Atlanta Board of Visitors of the Savannah College of Art and Design, and served on President Bush’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. He has also served on advisory boards at the University of Louisville and Western Illinois University. In addition to managing XLR-8, Bob Nardelli is Senior Advisor to the chief executive officer of Cerberus Capital Management LP, and Senior Advisor to Ernst & Young, the international accounting and consulting firm.
Bob Nardelli has everything the VA needs in a leader. We are very hopeful that Mr. Trump will seriously consider him as the man to restore the faith of our nation’s heroes, and to help a grateful nation honor them as we so strongly desire.