tv The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations Bloomberg November 26, 2016 9:00am-9:31am EST
david: do you think you would ever lead a large company like pepsi? it is a dream come true. david: you get advice do you it listen to indra: you never know if a nugget can translate. long ago an activist showed up. indra: my job is to make sure company is performing very well. david: suppose somebody has a product from a company that is and you see nta them in their refrigerator what do you do? it be known i'm very unhappy. wouldn't recognize me if my tie was fixed.
all right. i don't remember myself a journalist. nobody else would consider myself a journalist. of gan to take on the life being an interviewer even though i had a day job of running a firm.te equity how do you define leadership? makes somebody tick? you have been the c.e.o. of years.o for more than 10 did you think when were a young india you would grow up pepsi?head of indra: it is a dream come true. go back my raopts and to where i am the two points would never connect and to be in united states running such a large company is almost an
toredulous thing it happened me. david: let's go back to india for a moment. you grew pickup a very close and when you were very say your mother would pretend you are prime minister of india or something. what was the drill she was exhibit?o indra: she was a very bright woman and didn't go to college thinke her parents didn't girls should go to college and they couldn't afford to send college. see lived vicariously through the daughters and kept pushing to be whatever we wanted to you canm big but always get married but dream big until then so dinner table she would this conversation about give me a speech like you are the president one prime minister and one schaefchief minister an no prime s and say minister would do this. she kept pushing us to be better better. if we got one compliment we said done really have
well. she really raised the bar on us she gave us hope but the red us firmly into values that i have to get married at 18 which didn't happen. that is what she kept telling y us. david: if you don't get married 18 that is a disgrace? ndra: this is the way she envisioned it but my father and grandfather said do whatever you want. just get a good set of grades so your mother can get you married. at was myupbringing and we home.hecks and balances at david: you did get some degrees in india and you decided to get e.l. school ofthe management. when you said to your parents in going to yale which is connecticut united states what did they say? indra: this is perhaps the all.st mystery of my conservative mother and my
father allowed me to come to the united states. shocked the hell out of me thought my uld have mother would have fasted for days and thrown a temper tantrum. to the airport and saw me off. they bought me an airline ticket how even today i wonder they did it. what it cost them. ut they were very supportive and they had enough people to look up on me it make sure i had support system but they encouraged me to go and live out my dreams. yale? did you take indra: there was an article in a time magazine or something which about the yale school of management. public and private management they bring together different sectors and the buhl article. i read about it bush beautiful article. i read it where i was growing up and i was so intrigued by the approach to education from yale decided to apply. david: when you graduated you then began to go into various
kinds of positions. where were you initially? ndra: i went to the boston consulting group in chicago and spent six and a half years there nd perhaps one of my most formative experiences because time in consulting that which was the father of strategy allowed me to see problems of holistically. not just marketing or operations delanchain. i saw every aspect and it give 10 years of experience in six ears and i became a better person. david: when did in,pep marry of you? indra: somebody said pepsico like to talk to me. david: they gave you the job of in charge of strategy? head of advantage. david: you made some head of ons as the strategy. ne was gatorade or quaker oats feel was that goods and much you happy 20 do it? >> it was one of the most
acquisitions we did ecause gatorade was an amazeing beverage probably the best isotonic beverage in the worlds athletes. david: isotonic means? indra: sports drinks. gatorade access to and we could do all kinds of things with that. we didn't have a good product that was good. the bigger attraction was the quaker oats brand. we had no food brand that was good for you. and we needed a good for you bra brand. we looked at the world the best good for you even today is oats. we wanted it badly. e wanted quaker oats and gatorade. other beverage companies only wanted gatorade and didn't know quaker oats.th because we had both businesses for us the quaker oats company and includes quaker gatorade was a logical acquisition. david: when i was a young person
and in those s days it was such a long time ago was the conventional wisdom you were not supposed to drink youhing at hoeufrpl because would get a cramp. the idea of hydrating will not along. one time we played a team in australia and they had a drink beer at to halftime and they did better so away went to that bush we went that. indra: i think somebody gave you wrong information so you should to avoid cramps. david: but before that people didn't know that. tropicana. how did this come about? because997 we bought it we had no beverage brand that before 10:00 rs a.m. the first time somebody reached for a pepsico beverage was 10:00 was pepsi or mountain dew. so the first early hours of the no product.ad so tropicana was always on the
needed in brand we our portfolio for a breakfast beverage. it came up we grabbed it. pepsi so people say make different or frito-lay you get listen?nd did you ever indra: they give me ideas on roducts and how it taste and what new products to develop and ideas and feedsback on commercials. ideas for e commercials, packaging. he most important thing is to keep both ears open because you never any if a nugget of an idea can translate it a big success bun thing is not dismiss them. i an't log all of the ideas get. i send it out and say i listen i this talking and what heard. is twhr something he should be doing? i listen to everybody. david: you do the testing or some testing yourself? greatest of the things in my job is i can test stages.e in the early
in the annual cycle i must taste and 100 products over snacks, ys whether beverages, quaker products. theything that is launching next three to five years they will show me promote times and i can give an opinion not that my is the only thing that counts but i can give an opinion. i will tell e i do ou anybody r any time i visit somebody's home i find may way to the kitchen and open cupboards to see what products they have. it is very important if i visit somebody in their home anybody who invites me can be a friend they have to have pepsi products. a product body has based in atlanta and you see it. what do you do? known that it be i'm very unhappy. so if you ever invite me. everything.ll change i don't have the other products but don't worry, i would have your products. indra: appreciate it.
david: you have been the c.e.o. more than 10 years and most are five years or so. so you have done very well. the stock is up 67% since you have been the c.e.o. to be a c.e.o. now than 10 years ago? you look at k when the world the last decade the inancial crisis changed the world enormously because you had
really the world has not recovered from the financial crisis. political up and rls -- upheavals technology is rewriting the rules. what kinds of jobs will you keep how are you y and going to digitize the chain and the ill ex-commerce impact business? there is some technology part of the ry company. in the last seven years in particular it has been a a large company because you have got to be a oreign policy expert and technology person and got to be on the front line and talk to world nt line and leaders. c.e.o.'s have to do a lot just and keep the companies them going in this incredibly environment.bal david: not long ago an activist show said maybe you should spin off the frito-lay
business. what was your response and how you keep the activist pretty happy? an a: my job is not it keep activist happy but make sure the company is managed for the next performing well and sobeit.ctivist is happy i'm an internal active ill. in n 33 times my salary pepsico stock. my entire net worth is in this company. on the outside had a great idea how to improve the listenhat is sustained i to them. i listen to the active eupiacti. my personal convictions and superb boards of directors. with the d this company and i'm transparent and told them where we are headed where the activist wanted us to go and it was clear to the more of to me that was short-term strategy and what we want long-term is what we want. the board backed me and the
our convictions prevailed and we are where we were before the activist came well.rforming david: one of the main things ou sell is pepsi-cola and another company coca-cola and if you have a blind fold test can tell the difference? indra: yes, absolutely. have you tried the two beverages? years ago told that when they were blind fold tests -cola andle liked pepsi coca-cola tried to reform hreutd and it didn't work. for coca-cola is said to be in a vault. ndra: we have a formula in the vault but i'm a chemist by always products. the pepsi-cola product invented one of the most omplex refined amazing formulas. david: say it is very good but and would say pepsi-cola coca-cola are not that healthy for you so you must have heard that argument before.
yes.a: david: how does pepsico under your leadership try to make pepsi-cola e healthier? what is your plan to do that? invented st it was many years ago when society was different. thans more under nutrition ov over-- nutrition and people felt drinking products with that much all right. society has changed and it bee to ps us to -- behooves us change with society. we are launching more products sugar.ro or very low we are taking pepsi and reform formulating or -- it for lower sugar levels to accept e student to carbonated drinks with lower sugar. overnight.do it you have to take them down piece we get to a hen level like 50 or 60 calories for calories for r 70 12 counsels they are comfortable with the product. that is the journey.
david: what about snack products? been criticized for having a lot of salad. -- salt. you make them healthier. ndra: a single bag of lays has less salt than a slice of bread. salt.e it is the you need it in bread and evining and south beach preserve temp. a bag hree tpwrepbts in of lays. little salt, potatoes and heart healthy oil so eat them with a smile on your face. them: i'm sure i would eat with a smile but with i gain weight? indra: you exercise. enough.ot indra: should be fine. avid: what if somebody says i don't care about being healthy i snack.tkpwraegreat what will make me happiest. indra: fritos. and went ike you died to heaven. avid: people are the heart of
pepsico. you have over 200,000 employees. how can you possibly relate to them? e-mails? it through how do keep them informed? you have so many employees? videos, e-mails, town halls and forums every quarter. we meet withtravel inloyees and i do town halls the council or country -- town or country. sometimes i write a letter. direction when my kids were wrote a college i personal letter saying i'm going through tremendous separation i felt employees were not calling their parents write why h i would it is important to call parents. so whatever is on my mind i want know me as a person rather than just an executive. i'm accessible to them and talk everybody from the front line to my senior executives. of years ago you spoke at the economic club washington and made a people
a lot ofought captured people's attention. one thing you said was you write letters to your senior officers' mothers to give them a report are on how their children doing. do you still do that and what was the theory? indra: i should take you back a i first became c.e.o. i went back to india to mother.y my father had passed away and my mother was there. the yed at a hotel because home was a little bit more rugged and i wanted the comfort. told me i had to dress up nd show up at 7:00 a.m. in the morning. when i got home and sat in the of ng room a straeplt visitors -- stream of people showed up and would say mom rical leand go to my and say you did such a good job compliment ughter she is a c.e.o. but not a word to me. hen i watched that interplay i related that i was a product of my upbringing and my parents if
father had been around they should get the credit because of and to me id for me that allowed me to be who i was that day. me that i never thanked the parents of my executives for the gift of their child to pepsico. so i came back and started to senior reports and executives and writing the story my cultural background what when i went to india then i wrote a personal aragraph what their climb was doing and said thank you for the gift of your child to our the ny and it opened floodgate of emotions. parents started to communicate beently with me and it has an amazing experience because i now write to about 400 stkaoufrs. you write a letter to their parents. what do the executives say? do that or i'm't glad you told my parents how well i'm doing? our executives get very emotional about it because the
such a never received letter and it is like a report card. else.t write anything the participants are so delighted about getting the tell neighbors and uncles and aunts and then the executive says my god there is happened to g that my parents and best thing that happened it me as an executive. to d: have you ever written the interviewers you had? indra: not yet. david: ok. a woman today has it easier than when you became c.e.o.? indra: i'm always afraid if i fail i may have to go back to something that i don't want to that is always motivate being me and i drive myself to be better and better at my job every day. "the david rubenstein show: peer to peer conversations" is brought to you by state street global vise source.
david: some people who might be atching this would say this person has in all a woman had has become the c.e.o. of a great husband nd has a married to for more than 30 years, two happy and healthy are employed and is it possible for anybody certainly a woman in our society you feel all and do like you have had it all? indra: on a relative basis yes i have had it all. a relative basis i'm very
fortunate to have a wonderful very d, two great kids tightknit family and awesome job and great team. here around stay here lots of tradeoffs and sacrifices under the water a lot of damage but i have had the strength to power through all of that. can you have it all? that is the big question? in this definition. i think if you have the right system and understanding spouse and you want to be married, if you are willing to tradeoffs that you need it make you can have it all. that ile you do all of there will be heartaches and pain and there will be some damage.al david: when you became the president of pepsi you came home one day and your mother was there and she asked you to get and maybe you can tell the story better than i could. in 2000 i was k p
informed by the phone call i was president of the company and i went home because i was work on the quaker oats family i was y going to be president of pepsico. walked in the house and mom opens the door, she was living with me and i said i have news for you. said before the news go get some milk. 10:00 and why should i get milk why didn't you tell him. he came at eight and he was tired now you get the milk. you never question your mom. i went and got the milk and banged it on the correspondent counter top i had big news i was appointed president all you care about is milk. he said when walk in that door leave the car in the garage daughter, e the wife, daughter-in-law and mother of the kids and that is all i want to talk about. nything else leave in the
garage. don't even try that with me any more. with mom you don't try anything. david: she must be proud you are c.e.o. of pepsi. indra: i think she is but she keeps me grounded. more difficult being a c.e.o. woman or combination? whether did you have to overcome? indra: i think being a woman and immigrant has had its positives and negatives. people ositives because take notice of you if you are so different you walk in the room and people go she is a different a person, female, immigrant. tall. all these work together. been difficult because they go how does she know how to run this great american company? it is both a positive and negative but on balance more positive. david: do you think a woman today has it easier than when or do you still feel you have to work harder to man woman c.e.o. than say a
who is c.e.o. of an equivalent sized company? ndra: easier today because there are more of us in positions power. but i think from a personal it has nothing to do with women or being in this position. the fear i'm always afraid if i fail i may have to something i don't want to go back to and that fear always potassium sraeuts me and me and i drive myself to be better at my job. david: you are a role model for many women. you see yourself as a role model and particularly from women from india or outside the united states? i don't have a choice but to be a role model and i feel a model ge to be the role what for women, minorities, indian women for sure. up to me and s wants to learn from me and get my advice. i kaepcan't give them all enoug time. that is what makes me. bad because i get letters every to be a g for advice
mentor. i can't do it all so i try to do by speaking in public forums and disseminate information on a large scale. there are soecause few of us we have to play the role of being the role model and a good job. do because we have to set the standard for others who might footsteps.our david: one time i think i read you your husband was saying are spending all your time on pepsi, pepsi, pepsi and what what was your response? indra: you always even today he your list is pepsico, then kids and mom and at the bottom i sit there and i said you are on the list. on the list but he knows that i love him dearly rock, that he's my life. ut he likes to be higher up on the list. ♪
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