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03/01/2022

PepsiCo Creates New Organization to Accelerate Company's Racial Equality Journey

Derek Lewis, a 34-year company veteran, is tapped to lead the effort.
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PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo has created a new North American organization dedicated to accelerating efforts both inside and outside of the company to help address inequalities for historically excluded people and underserved businesses and communities.

According to PepsiCo, the announcement is a critical next step in PepsiCo's Racial Equality Journey and a key pillar of its pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) transformation of how it creates growth and shared value. The company's Racial Equity Journey 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. 

PepsiCo also announced its appointment of Derek Lewis as its first 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. In his new role, he will create and lead a new organization tasked with ensuring that end-to-end business inequalities are addressed to maximize overall results and impact. 

"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.

Specific focus areas of the organization will include:

BUSINESS FOCUS

  • 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 

EQUITY FOCUS

  • 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

"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.

Purchase-based PepsiCo generated more than $79 billion in net revenue in 2021, led by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay's, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, and SodaStream.