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Values for Successful Leadership: PepsiCo CEO, Steve Reinemund, Provides a Personal Perspective

Steve Reinemund provided key insights into his approach to leadership and personal decisions during a keynote event organized by the Harvard Christian Fellowship on March 11th.

In sharing his journey in the corporate world which unexpectedly culminated in his becoming CEO of PepsiCo in 2001, Mr. Reinemund stressed the importance of understanding one’s priorities in life replica breitling. As a father of four, one of his key priorities has always been doing what is best for his family. Along the way, that required him to make tradeoffs. This included turning down an opportunity to run the larger Kentucky Fried Chicken division while he headed Pizza Hut and, more recently, deciding to move his family back to Dallas and personally commute to New York.

Mr. Reinemund openly shared his beliefs and values and described them as being a cornerstone of his leadership. His life is defined by several principles which have become the moral compass that guides his decisions and reflects his personal faith in God. Consistency and fairness have also been critical elements in reinforcing his leadership style.

Given his experiences, Mr. Reinemund developed a model which he applies constantly to his life. “My success model is like a chair with four legs,” he recalled. “In the center is God. Family, friends, community and work are the four legs.” At times, he has found it difficult to have equal weight in all four areas. Only in the mid-late 1990s did he feel as if he had achieved the right balance. At that point, he also faced his most rewarding challenge as Chairman of the National Salvation Army board.

Further discussing his views on striving towards a balanced life, he described how a pendulum remains in motion constantly and only finds balance momentarily in the center replica watches uk. An element of risk and reward exists with each decision. Although many companies “don’t reward, but respect the tradeoffs people make,” Mr. Reinemund believes the consequences are easier to accept if we stay true to our own definition of success.

Given his current responsibilities at PepsiCo, Mr. Reinemund also shed light on some of his latest projects including health and wellness, diversity, and horizontal leadership. PepsiCo has prided itself in being proactive as “part of the solution” to the nation’s obesity problem. For example, it has taken many steps such sponsoring “America on the Move” fitness program, improving the nutritional value of its foods, and educating children about healthy eating habits.

In closing, Mr. Reinemund recounted his perspectives on becoming CEO of PepsiCo during a year of monumental change. He has spent a lot of his time guiding the board and company in the area of corporate governance.

However, he believes “everyone needs to be accountable for their decisions.” Reinemund asserts that rules alone won’t prevent another Enron from happening without a strong system of checks and balances and every individual’s belief in his or her personal value system.

His experiences as a board member of Johnson & Johnson taught him the incredible power of ingrained values within an organization. He is currently leading PepsiCo through the process of rolling out a revised value statement that is both realistic and aspirational. But most of all, it gives each employee the license to challenge PepsiCo to operate in adherence to those values.

March 22, 2004
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