Pepsico has long been a strong pillar in the Black community. Now, with their latest move they’ve deepened a commitment to racial equity and equality across their North American business markets.
Pepsico recently announced they’ve created a new Multicultural Business and Equity Development Organization, to be helmed by Derek Lewis, the first president of PepsiCo’s Multicultural Business and Equity Development. It couldn’t be in more capable hands since he’s been with the company for 34 years.
“I’m really excited about building on the efforts Pepsico has made over the years to further racial equity and equality,” said Lewis. “I was a campus hire from Hampton University, and my first assignment was in Baltimore, Maryland, on a route as a sales management trainee. And essentially from there, I just worked my way up through the organization through serving in various sales operating roles. Essentially, that led to regional roles of large responsibility.”
This new entity is part of PepsiCo’s racial equity initiative announced in 2020 that includes a $570 million investment over five years to propel Black and Hispanic business amplification and representation.
Formerly the President of PepsiCo Beverages North America’s South Division, Lewis led the company’s broader diversity and community engagement agenda, namely PepsiCo Stronger Together, Pepsico’s grassroots initiatives centering programming for underserved communities across the country.
Lewis also was an integral part of Pepsico’s She Got Now internship program providing career opportunities for HBCU students and the Historically Better Gala honoring Black trailblazers.
“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 in a news release. “This is a significant move, which we believe will increase engagement and impact internally with employees and externally with consumers and enable greater progress for the future.”
Lewis’s focus will center on accelerating retailer business development in multicultural communities and expanding existing programming, including Dig In, Black Restaurant Accelerator Program and Juntos Crecemos – all aimed at supporting Black and Hispanic communities.
“I’m incredibly honored and humbled to lead this new organization again,” Lewis said. “Really, we’re going to be focused on accelerating efforts inside of the company and outside the company to really address inequalities for historically excluded people and underserved businesses and communities.”