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Good piece in FastCompany about how PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is committed to the kind of cultural change within the company that will make products healthier, encourage environmental responsibility, and empower employees.

It is a commitment that has its share of tensions.

"PepsiCo’s business is three pieces," Nooyi says. "It has fun-for-you beverages and snacks: Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Lay’s, Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos . . . I could go on. All the ’tos. [Laughs] The second is what I would call better-for-you: Diet Pepsi, Baked Lay’s, Baked Doritos. And then there’s the good-for-you piece: Quaker Oats, Tropicana, Naked Juice. We are trying to take the fun-for-you portfolio and reduce the salt, sugar, and fat.

"I didn’t create Pepsi Cola. I didn’t create Doritos or Fritos or Cheetos. I’m trying to take the products and make them healthier. And guess what they tell me? 'Don’t be Mother Teresa. Your job is to sell soda and chips.' So this is not being disingenuous. We are trying to take a historical eating and drinking habit that has been exported to the rest of the world and make [it] more permissible."

Nooyi also addresses the challenge of getting more women into the CEO pipeline:

"More than 50% of people who are graduating from colleges, from professional schools, are women," she says. " And some of the top grades are being [earned] by women. So we don’t have an entry-level problem. We bring them into the company, they do very well in the early stages. And then what happens? If they choose to get married and have kids, that’s the time they have to build a career, and most companies don’t have support systems that allow women to have a life and a livelihood. We almost force people to choose.

"And then women leave, or take a step back. For example, how do you take the kid to the pediatrician if the doctor is not open Saturday or Sunday? If we don’t provide the support system when the employees are in their thirties and their forties to allow them to have a family and work, there is no way we’re going to build a pipeline to the C-suite. It is a long-term problem. We have to address it."

It is an interesting piece about tensions that exist in a lot of companies trying to operate at a time of shifting consumer and corporate priorities, and you can read it in its entirety here.
KC's View:
In so many ways, I think that the challenge of sexism is the harder one for companies to address, since women are simply held to a different standard than men and forced to make choices that men simply don't have to make. Businesses suffer when they fall back on old cultural constructs and don't find new ways to make things work for people who might do more than just change their companies - they might also change the world.