Business

Vivek Sankaran, President and COO of Frito-Lay North America, on performance with a purpose

Vivek Sankaran, President and COO of Frito-Lay North America, speaks at Plano Chamber of Commerce Luncheon | Photo credit: Misty Hoyt, Misty Hoyt Photography

Over the course of the past three years, Plano-based Frito-Lay grew their revenue 3 percent, and its profit grew six percent.

“We are a blue-collar, overachieving company,” says Vivek Sankaran, President and COO of Frito-Lay North America. “We always pride ourselves in the consistency in our performance. If you look at all of the growth in food and beverage in North America, we, Frito-Lay, in your backyard, are the number one contributor to growth.”

Last week, the Plano Chamber of Commerce hosted the final gathering of the 2018 Plano First Quarterly Luncheon Series at Marriott at Legacy Town Center. The luncheon was sponsored by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and its keynote speaker was Vivek Sankaran, President and COO of Frito-Lay North America. Sankaran has been with Frito-Lay for almost ten years, and he credits the company’s long-standing status as a household name and its success to its dedicated team of workers.

Vivek Sankaran was named President and COO of Frito-Lay North America in 2016, a role which puts him at the helm of PepsiCo’s $15 billion snack and convenient foods business.

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When it comes to operating a brand that has consistently grown in revenue and stature, Vivek Sankaran says it all comes down to basics: building brands, innovation, execution, and productivity.

“Before I worked for Frito-Lay, I was never any fun at cocktail parties,” he says. “Now, people come up to me, tell me what they like, complain about products they don’t like, and give me ideas for new products.”

Vivek Sankaran believes that in order to continuously bring in profit and remain successful, companies have to keep up with trends.

“Rather than argue about what’s healthy and not healthy, we said ‘let’s give people a choice. Today, you can get Doritos, Doritos Blazed, Doritos Reduced Fat, or organic Doritos.”

The President and COO of Frito-Lay North America cites their diverse customer base as the company’s biggest opportunity for growth.

“We just need to keep bringing you the snacks you want,” he says. “Do you want more protein in a snack? Do you want more fruit? We are jumping on that opportunity to make sure we give you that portfolio and so you can get the balance you want in your diet.”

Vivek Sankaran sits answers questions at Plano Chamber of Commerce luncheon | Photo credit: Misty Hoyt, Misty Hoyt Photography

While Frito-Lay has consistently delivered fresh, new, innovative products to the market, Vivek Sankaran notes that rapidly changing technology and new shopping cultures pose a few challenges.

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“When you change how you shop, companies like us have to adapt quite dramatically,” he says. “We have to be there whether you want to buy it online or in the store.”

Frito-Lay makes over 500,000 service calls to stores every week, delivering everyone’s favorite snacks to their local grocery stores. Sankaran believes Frito-Lay is highly customer-focused and works hard to make sure each of their customers is able to purchase what they want, when they want.

Alex Gonzalez
Alex Gonzalez is a writer at Plano Profile. He is a lover of food, music, sports, art, and world cultures. Alex was born and raised in Plano and graduated from University of North Texas in 2017. When he is not writing, Alex enjoys hiking, attempting to cook, going out to happy hours, and playing board games with friends.

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