Interview with Sergio Ezama
(CHRO, PepsiCo Europe Sub Sahara Africa)
Sergio began his career at PepsiCo in 2001 in the HR team in Spain and since then progressed to lead teams in South West Europe and Eastern Europe before being appointed to his current role of Chief HR Officer for PepsiCo Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. He saw the power of diversity first hand, and was part of setting up many initiatives, which are still going strong today and help us in driving, enjoying and celebrating the culture of diversity.
Here at PepsiCo we have a strong legacy of leading in diversity practices, from the 1950s as the first major company to have a woman on its Board, to the 80s where we pioneered multicultural marketing.
We believe in building a workforce that reflects the diverse consumers and communities we serve. As such, we celebrate diversity and look to utilize the strength of our teams’ different perspectives, experiences and backgrounds. To drive this we hire innately curious people – those who are always open to learning in order to understand, listen, innovate and advance.
Which diversity initiatives do you have in your organization?
We have many initiatives, both across our geographies and within our functions. They include a solid mix of gender parity projects, development programs, networking opportunities, and communication campaigns – all help reaching out to people on all levels and setting the right tone from the top. For many years, we’ve been rewarding the best examples of it through our recognition programs, including the global Harvey C. Russell Diversity & Engagement award, part of the Chairman’s Award – the highest honor you can receive at PepsiCo.
With these efforts we have recently been recognized one of the top three employers across the whole of Europe by Top Employer. We first received the European Top Employer accolade back in 2011, and it makes me proud that the PepsiCo name continues to this day to be synonymous with excellence, while our firm reputation as a company for diversity solidifies this success.
Whilst we’re strong in this area, we want to push ourselves to go further. Thus, PepsiCo recently renewed our Performance with Purpose promise. Created 10 years ago, it’s a commitment to being successful through sustainability and the right behaviors. Included in this are targets for gender parity by 2025.
Here in PepsiCo ESSA we see LEAD as a crucial partner in further cementing our commitment to building a truly gender agnostic organization. Our focus is on building a strong, best practice Sector framework that ensures diversity and inclusion is top of mind throughout every part of our business.
What role may LEAD play in reaching your organization’s diversity goals?
The LEAD Network, under Sharon’s leadership, offers a clear vision, aligned with that of our own, around empowering people through diversity and the positive, tangible impact this delivers to business.
Our gold partnership pledge signals our belief in the need for constructive industry-wide debate and empowering individuals across our business to own the diversity agenda and commit to making a difference. This is how we will achieve meaningful action and at pace. As such, we value LEAD’s Local Chapter set up, and Sector networking opportunities for female and male colleagues Europe-wide. It’s a real chance to share and learn from fellow pioneers and see meaningful steps taken in driving the diversity agenda forward.
What would you like your employees to take away from the LEAD Network?
All voices merit the opportunity to be heard, with constructive debate being a key part of our Sector culture, alongside curiosity and learning.
Networking and sharing fuse to form the backbone of the above; and the LEAD Network helps strengthen this. Best practice sharing is invaluable, but LEAD takes this one step further. It gives us the chance to take theory and put it into practice. I want teams to test, learn and share practical approaches of what works – and what doesn’t – and build hands-on, business relevant insights.
Through utilizing insights and listening, through industry tracking and benchmarking and through rallying together for a common goal, we can ensure we actively lead by example and change the future for the better.