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PepsiCo Vietnam has set an ambitious plan to triple its business over the next five years,
|Mr – Saad Abdul-Latif|
becoming Vietnam’s leading company in sales and manufacturing of refreshment beverages and convenience foods. Saad Abdul-Latif, CEO of PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa, talks with VIR about his firm’s new development phase in Vietnam.
Looking back across the nearly 20-year journey, how do you assess the performance of PepsiCo in Vietnam?
Being the CEO of PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa, I oversee the largest and fastest-growing business sector in PepsiCo’s global system, with 14 international joint ventures, 38 subsidiaries and 65 franchise units serving 73 per cent the global population. However, even among some of PepsiCo’s most important business units, PepsiCo Vietnam’s growth and achievements truly stand out as extraordinary. Standing here in Vietnam today, I am proud to celebrate the immense success of PepsiCo Vietnam and I am happy to affirm the commitment of PepsiCo global to this very special country. But more than a commitment, we sincerely believe in the future success of PepsiCo Vietnam and its enormous positive impact to the community of Vietnam. Our achievements to date are just one step toward our greater plan for PepsiCo Vietnam.
Given such exciting growth, what are global PepsiCo’s commitments to continuing to promote its new investment plans as well as developing new product lines in Vietnam?
Today, representing PepsiCo global, I want to convey our commitment to continue to invest in PepsiCo Vietnam and also the community. We are thankful for the contribution, support and loyalty of all PepsiCo Vietnam’s associates, the Vietnamese people and the community because we could not achieve such accomplishments without them. Hence, we promise to do our best to sustain the growth of the company as well as continue to provide benefits to the Vietnamese community. Within the past two years, PepsiCo Vietnam has constructed and opened two new factories in Binh Duong and Can Tho. We are planning to use our expanded capacity and infrastructure to introduce more product lines which offer healthy choices to consumers, while at the same time we continue our journey toward environmental sustainability. With the business results achieved, we believe and insist that PepsiCo Vietnam will continue to be an active member of society.
With more than one year under your belt in charge of Asia for PepsiCo, how do you rate the role of Vietnamese market in PepsiCo’s development strategy in the region?
There is so much that Vietnam can contribute to PepsiCo’s steady growth and also so much potential that PepsiCo can offer to the Vietnamese market. In the region, PepsiCo Vietnam has been one of our pioneer businesses whose story of accomplishment and innovation continues to inspire our other markets to achieve success. Thanks in large part to Pham Phu Ngoc Trai, who himself has become a legend within PepsiCo, our business in Vietnam is known not only for its financial success but also for being a leader in upholding PepsiCo’s values. The awards that PepsiCo Vietnam has received over the years speak for themselves, including PepsiCo’s highest honor for an international business unit, the Donald M. Kendall Award.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is one of the most important factors to measure the sustainable development of a business. How has PepsiCo Vietnam balanced its high financial returns with giving back to the communities?
Believe it or not, as I mentioned, PepsiCo Vietnam is more well-known for its reputation of making positive impacts to the community than for its financial success. And our business here is truly representative of PepsiCo and our mission globally. There are many ways we will continue to give back. We will introduce a wider variety of products that give the people of Vietnam more choices in what they eat and drink. We will continue to help Vietnamese farmers by utilising local agricultural suppliers, and we will continue to make our business practices more environmentally-friendly. At the same time, we will contribute to the work of educating and training local Vietnamese talent to produce and sustain growth in the local economy.
And we will continue to care for the community’s health through our giving to orphanages and hospitals. I believe that, to hold the title of a successful company, we must be a positive social citizen, and the team here agrees. That is why our slogan of action in Vietnam is “PepsiCo: A great company, a good corporate citizen”.