Mar 9, 2021

People Moves North America: Nike, Reddit, Emerson, NewCo

Kate Birch
4 min
In a week of firsts where three firms hire for new executive roles including in sustainability and finance, check out our round-up of C-suite transitions
In a week of firsts where three firms hire for new executive roles including in sustainability and finance, check out our round-up of C-suite transition...

In a week where IBM Announces senior roles for NewCo., the spin out Independent Managed Infrastructure Services Business, and Nike makes some big changes to its senior leadership team, we round up the latest executive hires that are making news.

Just as Reddit edges closer to going public, the social media site instals its inaugural chief financial officer, while Emerson, whose priority is to advance ESG momentum, hires its first-ever chief sustainability officer. 

Nike names Sarah Mensah as VP and GM of North America

Formerly serving as Nike’s VP and GM of the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions, Sarah Mensah has been appointed VP and GM of North America and will be tasked with leading the Swoosh’s marketing, digital and sales departments, as well as its Direct and Consumer Construct strategies. Mensah, who has been with Nike since 2013 and prior to this spent 19 years NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers as SVP and COO, has “continually demonstrated her ability to deliver strong results across our geographic and Jordan Brand businesses”, states Heidi O’Neill, Presdient, Consumer and Marketplace.

Kelley Conway to head up digital strategy at Northern Trust

Following a 20-year-long consulting career, Kelley Conway is set to join investment firm Northern Trust as Head of Corporate and Digital Strategy. With a consulting career that includes leading Accenture’s Financial Services Technology Advisory practice in North America, as well as lead partner for financial services strategy for Strategy& (part of PwC), Conway has a track record of partnering with management teams to drive practical, rapid impact by strategically applying new technologies and approaches. 

As Northern Trust continues to accelerate its digital journey, Conway will “play a key role in executing the company’s digital strategy and roadmap” in order to “enhance our client experience and product quicker business outcomes with security, stability and scalability”, says Michael O’Grady, CEO, Northern Trust. 

Drew Vollero becomes Reddit’s first chief financial officer

No stranger to the responsibilities of being a chief financial officer, CFO veteran Drew Vollero has been snapped up by social media site Reddit to be the firm’s first chief financial officer. This appointment follows Reddit’s US$6 billion valuation in February and comes just as the company edges ever closer to going public. Vollero previously served as Snap’s first-ever CFO, leading the social media company through its US$33 billion IPO in 2017, making him the perfect choice. 

With more than three decades of experience in finance roles, including 15 years at Mattel, and roles at PepsiCo, Yum Brands, Taco Bell and most recently as CFO at security company Allied Universal, Vollero will work across areas including tax, treasury, audit, financial planning, sales finance, accounting, procurement, and investor relations. 

As an “industry through leader”, Vollero brings to the Reddit table a “track record of building a global finance organisation for high-growth companies” and will be a “tremendous addition to our Executive Team as Reddit continues accelerating our business and user growth”, says Steve Huffman, co-founder and CEO of Reddit. 


Tech veteran Elly Keinan to be Group President of NewCo

A veteran of more than three decades in the technology industry, Elly Keinan is set to serve as Group President of NewCo. , the independently managed infrastructure services business to spin out from IBM. While Keinan was a venture partner of Pitango Venture Capital, Israel’s leading venture capital group, prior to joining NewCo., he previously held a number of roles at IBM including GM of IBM North America, GM of IBM Latin America and Chairman of IBM Japan. 

A global leader specialising in digitally transforming businesses for growth in both emerging and mature markets, Keinan is expert in building high performance teams and restructuring operations, go-to-market, and routes-to-market and brings “great global expertise as we build a purpose-led culture for our new company”, says Martin Shroeter, NewCo’s CEO. 


Mike Train is Emerson’s first-ever chief sustainability officer

Following 30 years in leadership roles at Emerson, most recently President of Emerson since 2018, Mike Train is set to take on a completely new role for industrial software leader and step into the shoes of its inaugural chief sustainability officer. Having already been a “critical member of Emerson’s global leadership team that oversees strategy to advance environmental, social and governance momentum”, according to Emerson CEO Lal Karsanbhai

Train will now lead the company’s environmental sustainability strategy and will focus on technologies and advocacy to enhance company operations and enable customer improvements. Train not only has decades of experience across industries, but he has a “deep personal passion for sustainability” and has been “tirelessly driving our work in this space”, adds Karsanbhai. 

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Jun 6, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi

Kate Birch
4 min
As the first and only female CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi smashed corporate America’s glass ceiling and transformed the performance and purpose of PepsiCo

At a recent Asia Pacific-focused event, organised by P&G and UN Women, the former CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, shared why enabling a diverse and inclusive workforce can directly impact the bottom line.

“If 80% of our products are bought by women because they were the gatekeepers at home, or make all the purchases, why don’t we have a large number of women represented in our ranks,” she told a virtual global crowd of thousands. 

Such business advice may seem rather obvious today, but in 2006, when Nooyi put this business philosophy into practice at PepsiCo, it was both pioneering and progressive. Because not only did the performance of PepsiCo transform under Nooyi’s 12-year tenure as CEO, but so did its purpose and people, with Nooyi widely praised for transforming the firm’s diversity and inclusion agenda.

And who better to do so than someone who had herself smashed the corporate American glass ceiling. Because, when Nooyi became CEO in 2006, following 12 years as Chief Strategist, not only was she among just a handful of female CEOs leading Fortune 500 firms, and one of very few foreign-born executives, she was both the first female CEO to lead PepsiCo, and the first person of colour. Not to mention also being a wife and mother.

Proving performance and purpose can co-exist

And she more than got the job done, growing PepsiCo revenues by 80%, making the firm more global than it had ever been, so that by the time she stepped down in 2018, nearly 20% of net revenues came from MENA, Asia and Latin America, and expanding the business significantly with key acquisitions (Tropicana) and mergers (Quaker Oats).

But it was Nooyi’s strategic redirection of PepsiCo, transforming both its purpose and people, that really made an impact. As chief architect of PepsiCo’s pledge, Performance with Purpose, unveiled in 2006 and a precursor to the modern sustainability movement, Nooyi repositioned the firm to focus on what is best for the world and for its people, from sustainability and social responsibility to diversity and diet.

She transformed the firm’s D&I agenda, created a culture where workers were encouraged to stay with the company, moved corporate spending away from junk food and into healthier alternatives, redesigned packaging to reduce waste, and switched to renewable energy sources and recycling.

As she told Forbes in 2017, “I wanted to make sure that PepsiCo was not only delivering top-tier financial returns but doing so in a way that was responsive to the needs of the world around us.”

Indra Nooyi talking with US President Biden (then Vice President) in 2014

Smashing corporate America's glass ceiling

And it was this ability to realise a world in which business is both practiced and recognised as a force for good that has earned Nooyi a place in CEO history books and landed her numerous accolades, including 11 honorary degrees, the Hero of Conscious Capitalism award at 2017’s CEO Summit, consistent inclusion in the world’s 100 most powerful women (including #1 by Forbes in 2009/10) and most recently, induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Not bad for a girl from Chennai, India, who was expected to lead a conventional life as a wife and mother, but by her own admission was a bit of a “rebel”, with a passion for playing cricket and lead guitarist in a band. In the late 70s, she relocated to the US, earning herself a Master’s in management from Yale, and beginning a four decade-long strategy-focused career that was born at BCG in 1980 where she spent six years and ended in 2018 following 24 impactful years at PepsiCo.

And while she has now retired from corporate life, Nooyi continues to wield the influence that so positively changed the direction of one of the world’s largest companies. As well as serving on the board for ecommerce giant Amazon, she speaks at summits close to her heart, and has recently penned her memoir, advising corporates on better integrating work and family.

And while she has now retired from corporate life, Nooyi continues to wield the influence that so positively changed the direction of one of the world’s largest companies. As well as serving on the board for ecommerce giant Amazon, she speaks at summits close to her heart, and has recently penned her memoir, advising corporates on better integrating work and family. 

Indra Nooyi's memoir will be available from September 28, 2021, and can be pre-ordered. 

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