Friday, May 20, 2005

Its Pespi ('s) Time

My letter to Mr. Steven Reinemund...

Steven S Reinemund
Chairman of the Board andChief Executive Officer
700 Anderson Hill Rd.
Purchase, NY 10577

Dear Mr. Reinemund,

I would like to take a moment to tell you how deeply offended I was by Ms. Nooyi’s comments to the Columbia Business School graduating class. Regardless of the published protestations about her words being taken out of context, or being misunderstood, it was very clear to me what Ms. Nooyi’s comments were intended to mean. She was clearly was pandering to her audience, and several times made humorous references to the meaning of an extended middle finger…clearly making the connection that this is often the way America should be viewed in the world.

So that you don’t think I am some rube…I graduated from a private university in the south. I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps flying fighters, and I am currently employed by a well known, and "well branded", $14B Company. I make well over $130,000 per year, and consider myself a savvy consumer. Consequently, I am not misled by the initial, shallow apology, or by the subsequent attempt at brand protection. PepsiCo needs to take clear and unmitigated steps to convey that the anti-American message, delivered in a public forum (a forum granted to her because she is a PepsiCo corporate officer) by one of its officers , is not the corporate view that Pepsi holds of America.

Until this is done, I will cease using any PepsiCo product. I have the complete list of PepsiCo products, and I admit that I find many of my favorites on this list, but I will not use, or buy any of the products until a vigorous condemnation of Ms. Nooyi’s remarks is made via the corporate offices. If that is not forthcoming, I will begin to divest myself of all of my holdings that own PepsiCo stock as part of a portfolio.

The America she defamed is the same America that puts billions of dollars into the world economy everyday. This is the same America that turned the tide of fascism in World War II, and the same America that donated, one dollar at a time, over a billion dollars in tsunami relief.

While it is clearly a right of every citizen to speak their mind in this country, in some cases that right carries a burden. Ms. Nooyi’s comments failed her, her adopted country, and the corporation she works for, and they have negatively impacted all three. Mr. Reinemund, only the most aggressive corporate interest in this will stem the tide of negativity that PepsiCo is currently experiencing, and can expect to experience out into the future.

A "damage control" form letter or response, will not meet my expectations as a reply in this matter.

Major Michael E. ______, USMC (Ret.)


W. said...

Ditto. Here is my letter:

To PepsiCo. Board of Directors:

I am a regular consumer, just like many other Americans. I am upset with Ms. Indra Nooyi's comments and further upset with her attempts at an apology. Nothing was "misconstrued" (she even said in her speech, "You know what I'm talking about.") and her criticisms of the US were not "inadvertent." They were blatant.

Whether or not she and PepsiCo. realize this, her attempt to clear things up only makes matters worse because it implies regular consumers are ignorant and naive, things which this one and most of the rest are not.

I am not going to buy any Pepsi products (all of them, not just the soft drinks) until two things are done:

1. A real apology is published that acknowledges what was said was wrong and a mistake. (Even if she believes it, she should state that comments like that are not appropriate for a leader at a consumer-related business to make, at least if they do not want to suffer the economic consequences, and especially if it is one so reliant upon the American consumer society.)

2. A statement expressing the good that the US does in the world. This country is not perfect, but it is one that brings much good to the world. To list some of the many:

-Tsunami relief (we actually backed up our pledge with the funds and relief services).

-Saving Europe during WWI.

-Saving the world and stopping continued Nazi extermination of the Jews during WWII.

-Saving South Korea from Communist (and eventual death camps) North Korea.

-Trying to salvage the job the French started with the Vietnam Conflict. (We did not succeed, but we tried.)

-Standing up to the Soviet Union and continued Communist expansion.

-Being the beacon of hope and light for those living under repressive regimes.

-Saving Kuwait when Saddam Hussein invaded that country.

-Helping to stop the genocide in then-Yugoslavia. There we helped Muslims against Christians, a point too often neglected.

-Assisting with funds and services to help after the Iran earthquake.

-Bringing freedom and self-rule to Afghanistan.

-Arresting and imprisoning the evil dictator Saddam Hussein along with delivering justice to his sons. This stopped the mass murder of his own people, torture, rapes, financial rewards to suicide bombers, and all-around continual threats to anyone who displeased him. (Notice we did not catch him, torture him, and then kill him. We delivered him to be tried by a court of law, something few countries would do. Yes, the US is one of the few, just like our Marines.)

-Thus, bringing freedom and a democratic vote to Iraq.

There are many more.

No matter what happens in the world, when someone needs help, they turn to us and we do help. We do because it is the right thing to do. We do because, quite often, no one else will. We do ... because we are Americans.

We are not the middle finger to the world. As radio host Hugh Hewitt put it, we are the backbone, the spine, the shoulders upon which others are able to stand. We are also the guts and intellect when something dangerous or complex needs doing.

Nooyi's criticism is a slander upon the face of the US. It is reprehensible. This is a country that provides much relief, aid, and even hope to billions around the world. When people despair, when people want more opportunity, where do they go? Like Nooyi, they come to the United States, the land of hope, freedom, and the brave. That she forgets that may be excusable if a forthright apology is forthcoming. That she neglects that is unexcusable.

The decision remains with you. Your now-former customers are awaiting a response that respects our intelligence and more importantly respects the good that the United States of America has done for the world and millions of its own citizens.

William Perales

thebronze said...

Reinemund is a former Marine also, from what I heard on Hugh Hewitt yesterday.

Former 3/1 Marine (0331)

Mr.Atos said...

Bravo, Sir! You deserve a Coke and a smile.

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