What is a good company? Some would argue there are none. There is the inevitable story about how the “good” company did not perform up to expectations in some dimension. I believe there are many good companies, but no perfect ones. The measures of a good company include how it deals with its customers and employees, how it treats the environment, its corporate social responsibility commitments, and almost as important, how it handles the inevitable missteps. David Mashburn, our guest columnist in this issue (permalink), comments on the power of good examples.
PepsiCo represents one such example. PepsiCo chairman Steve Reinemund is the subject of this issue’s conversation. Gerard Beenen (Ethix InReview editor and doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University) joined me for this discussion. Reinemund gave generously of his time, spoke forthrightly about how he and his team deal with the myriad of challenges in a global snack and drink company, and also discussed the responsibility he sees for global companies in the 21st century. This starts on p. 6.
In this issue, we also introduce the first installment of a section called “Best Practices.” As we identify practices that are out of the ordinary and could be adapted by others, we intend to share these stories. I hope to have an editor for this section soon; in the meantime, if you have a good practice you would like to have us consider, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your feedback on the negotiating strategy of Jack vanHartesvelt.
Some 25-year technology anniversaries, as well as new technology announcements, sparked my column on how technology has transformed business over the past 25 years. This led me to attempt projections for business in 2032. Perhaps you could add your own speculation in an online response.
Next issue we will take another look at Enron, through the eyes of their financial vice president, Sherron Watkins. She blew the whistle on Enron more than five years ago. (Jeff Skilling started his prison sentence on the December day when Gerard Beenen and I were in Houston to talk with her.) Though Enron was certainly not a good company example, there were courageous leaders even there, and Watkins’ story may inspire others to stand up in the face of difficulty.