Building on progress made to implement an impactful community and racial equality agenda, PepsiCo has announced the creation of a new North America organization dedicated to accelerating efforts inside and outside of the company to help address inequalities for historically excluded people and underserved businesses and communities.
This announcement is a critical next step in PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey (REJ), a key pillar of the company’s pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) transformation of how it creates growth and shared value. The company’s REJ commitments were originally announced in 2020 and centered around investing more than $570 million over five years to increase Black and Hispanic representation, leverage the company’s scale and influence across suppliers and strategic partners, and help address systemic barriers and create economic opportunities for Black and Hispanic Americans.
The new Multicultural Business and Equity Development Organization will operate across PepsiCo’s North America beverage and convenient foods businesses and integrate work streams aimed at addressing a variety of business and people priorities into a one-team approach that will enable PepsiCo to drive sustained change and scale faster across its entire North America businesses.
Underscoring the importance of this move, PepsiCo has appointed Derek Lewis as its first-ever president of Multicultural Business and Equity Development to lead this effort. A 34-year veteran of PepsiCo, Lewis most recently served as president of PepsiCo Beverages North America’s South Division and has played an integral leadership role in the company’s broader diversity and community engagement agenda. In his new role, he will create and lead a new organization tasked with ensuring end-to-end business inequalities are addressed to maximize overall results and impact. Lewis will report to Kirk Tanner, CEO, PepsiCo Beverages North America and Steven Williams, CEO, PepsiCo Foods North America.
Specific focus areas of the organization will include:
- Accelerating retailer business development in multicultural communities
- Expanding existing successful programing, including Pepsi Dig In, Black Restaurant Accelerator Program and Juntos Crecemos – all aimed at supporting Black and Hispanic communities
- Leveraging the scale of PepsiCo to drive investment in and support of diverse suppliers and partners
- Elevating consumer awareness and sales with key multicultural cohorts across the company’s beverage and convenient foods portfolios
- Amplify brand activations to drive distinction across beverages and convenient foods through programs that provide a sense of community and purpose
- Rebranding and national expansion of the successful Pepsi Stronger Together community engagement program to work across the food and beverage businesses and increase scale and awareness across North America
- Elevating PepsiCo’s efforts to be an employer of choice for diverse cohorts
- Supporting the company’s employee resource groups to build a unified company that celebrates and thrives on the diversity of each employee
- Enhancing the company’s engagement to empower and invigorate its associates that make, move, and sell PepsiCo products
“To take the next step in its Racial Equality Journey, PepsiCo is calling on one of its top executives to lead an organization embedded in the company’s two largest businesses with a focus on providing new educational opportunities, building up small businesses and creating rewarding job opportunities in an effort to support underserved businesses and communities,” said Kirk Tanner, CEO, PepsiCo Beverages North America. “This is a significant move, which we believe will increase engagement and impact internally with employees and externally with consumers and enable greater progress for the future.”
“Leveraging this new team across PepsiCo’s beverage and convenient foods businesses will allow us to more quickly scale this important work in communities across North America,” said Steven Williams, CEO, PepsiCo Foods North America. “We take great pride in the strength of our teams, the power of our brands, and our ability to exceed consumer and retailer expectations. Incorporating and accelerating our equality agenda will now be a new area of strength as we create sustained change in the communities where we live and work.”