Success Story: Derek Lewis Makes History At PepsiCo After 34 Years

by Duke Magazine

Derek Lewis will be the first president of PepsiCo’s Multicultural Business and Equity Development Organization, which was recently established by the food and beverage firm PepsiCo.

He has worked with PepsiCo for 34 years and is well-deserving of his promotion. Pepsico’s racial fairness strategy, announced in 2020, includes the creation of the new entity. The project comprises a five-year commitment of $570 million to increase Black and Hispanic representation.

As he is looking forward to his new role, which will focus on speeding initiatives both inside and outside the firm to help solve disparities for historically marginalized people, businesses, and communities.

Lewis graduated from Hampton University in the late 1980s with four or five employment offers, but he had his heart set on working for PepsiCo for a variety of reasons. In an interview, he stated that the company’s portfolio of brands, as well as its tremendous worldwide scale and reach, pleased him.

He also liked the prospect of professional advancement and advancement through the ranks. He also noticed the company’s strong support for African Americans, dating back to when Allen McKellar Jr. and Jeanette Maund, two African-American interns, were hired.

Lewis began his career as a sales trainee at PepsiCo. And, according to him, the role taught him humility, attention, and how to study things from the ground up.

“To be honest, I still refer to things learned at my first week on the job, and I believe that this helps me maintain contact with the people that join our firm now.” And it was from these humble beginnings that I commenced a 30-year career with PepsiCo, which is still going strong today,” he told Authority Magazine through Medium.

According to Lewis, persons like Allen McKellar, Jr., one of the first Black sales executives on PepsiCo’s first Black salesforce and later Lewis’ mentor, influenced him.

He worked as president of PepsiCo Beverages North America’s South Division most recently and is a key figure in the company’s broader diversity and community involvement initiatives, according to PepsiCo. Lewis held the post of senior vice president and general manager of field operation before this.

Also, he was the company’s South Business Unit’s senior vice president and general manager prior (SBU). He was in charge of PepsiCo’s beverage operations in the southern United States, which included Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

He also spent two years as the Great West Business Unit’s (GWBU) vice president of retail sales, encompassing 11 states. He was in charge of the Business Unit’s complete Retail Sales organization’s functional agenda.

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