An estimated 1,000 business, civic and political leaders attended The Business Council of Westchester’s (BCW) 2018 Annual Fall Dinner held at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook on Oct. 22 to hear Indra K. Nooyi, chairman of PepsiCo, discuss the business concept which helped establish her international reputation as a top corporate executive, “Performance with Purpose.”
Nooyi, during a question and answer session with Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of BCW, explained that the concept designed to reshape PepsiCo’s corporate image was developed in response to a need to attract new employees.
“The fact that we made a lot of money or we had many brands was not enough,” she said about the company’s efforts to recruit new people for its team. Nooyi explained that young people, especially, want to associate themselves with companies that seriously address issues such as health and the environment. Nooyi said she initially suggested, “What if we were more environmentally sustainable and environmentally conscious? What if we reduced our water use, because we have many plants in water-distressed areas.”
Nooyi said that an important part of adopting the “Performance with Purpose” principle was in modifying PepsiCo’s product lineup to reflect a healthier lifestyle through the use of less sugar, salt and artificial additives.
That is reflected in some of PepsiCo’s corporate literature, which states, “We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world enable PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders.”
Nooyi was honored by BCW with its Westchester Global Laureate Award. Nooyi, whose career with PepsiCo spans two dozen years, recently stepped down as CEO of the company that recorded more than $63 billion in net revenues during 2017.
During the event, Nooyi announced that PepsiCo was giving a $100,000 grant to the Westchester Community College Foundation to help fund scholarships for disadvantaged students from Westchester intending to pursue careers in STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “We understand how important STEM fields are to driving progress and solving many of the world’s pressing challenges and problems,” she said.
Noting that the attendance set a new record for the BCW fall event, Anthony Justic, chairman of BCW’s board, attributed the interest to Nooyi’s appearance and BCW’s membership growth and activism. “We enhanced our relationships with our government thought leaders and, most importantly, we made sure our members’ voices were heard loud and clear,” he said.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer also addressed the gathering. He promised that his administration would consider the needs of both small and big businesses and promote investment in areas such as infrastructure, transportation and housing in order to make the county more attractive for businesses and their workers.