Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald reassured stockholders during its annual meeting Tuesday morning that investment in the 175-year-old company was as sound as ever. P&G has been under fire for weak performance in developed markets, including the U.S. beauty sector. McDonald highlighted its billion-dollar brand portfolio, its organic growth strategy, financial history, product development and marketing agenda.

* “P&G has prospered for seven generations through up and down economic cycles,” said McDonald, pointing out it has paid a dividend for 120 consecutive years and increased the dividend for 56 consecutive years. The company has 25 billion-dollar brands that generate between $1 billion to $10 billion in sales each, including Olay, Pantene, Head & Shoulders and SK II. “We have three times more billion dollar brands in our categories than our closest competitor,” stated McDonald.

* McDonald refreshed the audience on P&G’s new comprehensive 40-20-10 program. The plan puts the bulk of its resources behind accelerating P&G’s 40 top market/category businesses, developing 20 breakthrough innovations and building business in the world’s 10 largest developing regions. The plan, said McDonald, is expected to help P&G post “organic sales growth of one to two points above market growth.” And already, profit in the top 10 developing markets is on track to be up 40% in the fiscal year, including exchange rates.

* He also stressed the growing importance of the world’s burgeoning middle class on its business. McDonald said by 2020 the global middle class population will increase by 1.5 billion people, with 95% of that group in developing markets. By 2030, he added, Americans will account for only 8% of the world’s middle class population, compared to 20% today.

* Meanwhile, McDonald said the new P&G culture is just as much about “productivity” as “innovation” and said a $10 billion cost reduction plan is well underway. However, not all employees are pleased with P&G’s change of attitude. A chemical technician from its Sacramento plant who’s been on the job 22 years, said his union has been without a contract since October 2011. In the past, P&G has been a company of “principles” and “compassion,” said the worker. “We never thought we would feel P&G sees us as the enemy.”