Black Excellence: How Steven Williams Grew From Humble Beginning To Lead PepsiCo’s $18 Billion Revenue Food Business

Growing in a small town in Oklahoma where farm-to-table eating was a way of life, Steven Williams learned valuable lessons of leadership from his dad. According to him, his father often reminded him and his eight siblings that, “your attitude will determine your altitude.”

This singular advice by his father has been his guiding principle in life and has contributed to his success in life. From humble beginnings, Williams has risen through the ranks to become one of the most successful CEOs in the U.S.

Williams is the CEO of PepsiCo, leading the $18 billion snack and convenient foods business that includes Frito-Lay North America (FLNA) and Quaker Foods North America (QFNA). The 20-year-old PepsiCo veteran has been in his current position since March 29, 2019.
Williams first joined PepsiCo in 2001 following the company’s acquisition of Quaker Oats Company, which he joined in 1997. He has since served in various capacities including serving as a senior vice president and chief commercial officer for Frito-Lay’s U.S. organization.

In his previous capacity, Williams oversaw all selling and commercial activities for U.S. field sales, customer teams, and headquarter commercialization, in addition to leading a large multifunctional sales organization, spanning all Frito-Lay retail customers, channels, and go-to-market systems, according to Fritolay.

Also, he previously served as senior vice president and general manager for Frito-Lay’s East division. Williams was responsible for the overall business and performance management for the six geographic regions in the Eastern U.S.

When he joined PepsiCo, Williams was in charge of the company’s global Walmart business. Among other things, he managed PepsiCo’s portfolio of products across all aspects of the Walmart Business worldwide, including Walmart U.S., Sam’s Club, and Walmart International Divisions.

Also, he led sales for several PepsiCo’s largest food and beverage brands, leading multi-channel and cross-functional teams to deliver revenue, profit, and growth.

Besides serving as CEO of PepsiCo, Williams is a member of the board of directors of State Farm Mutual Automobile Company and is very active in the community. He serves on various boards—serving on the executive advisory board for the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business, the president’s advisory board for University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

What is more, Williams serves on the board of directors of the Dallas Regional Chamber and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

According to Wallmine, Williams has an estimated net worth of $10 million and owns over 10,257 units of PepsiCo Inc stock worth over $8,286,931. Over the last two years, he reportedly sold PEP stock worth over $2,048,957.

“Steven is the ideal leader for our North America food businesses, and his appointment is a testament to our strong bench of talent,” PepsiCo Chairman Ramon Laguarta said in 2019 when Williams was named CEO of PepsiCo Foods North America. “He has deep knowledge of the industry and our business, and we will greatly benefit from his inspirational leadership, broad customer knowledge, intimacy with consumer trends, and experience developing talent as we build on our already strong foundation.”

Williams went to the University of Central Oklahoma where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in economics. Also, he went to Harvard Business School to study Leadership Development (PLD). The CEO lives in Dallas, TX, with his wife.

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