The Pepsi Challenge

In September's Fortune magazine there is an article announcing the recent promotion of Ms. Indra Nooyi who will be taking over as CEO of PepsiCo as of October 1. "And with that, the soda and snacks giant becomes the largest U.S. company by market cap to put a woman in charge." Several other powerful women spent much of their careers at PepsiCo, including Brenda Barnes, CEO of Sara Lee, and Irene Rosenfeld, CEO at Kraft Foods. They give credit to the Pepsi culture. Since 2001, CEO Steve Reinemund has enforced an aggressive hiring and promotion plan that requires half of their workforce to be women or minorities. Their bonus structure also rewards managers on their ability to hire and retain such talent. Today, six out of Pepsi's top 12 executives are women or minorities.

The reason for this aggressive push for diverse leadership, they say, is to better understand the tastes of new consumers as the business continues to expand globally. This, in my opinion, is the best reason. I haven't yet bought into the idea that women make better bosses, but I certainly agree that if you want to compete in a global market where women have almost all of the purchasing power, it's necessary to get into the heads of women and minorities. For old white men to think they have all the answers is absurd. Kudos to Steve Reinemund for getting it!

Darci Riesenhuber posted this on September 26, 2006, in Leadership.
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