PepsiCo Beverages CMO Greg Lyons On Balancing Home, Heart and Happiness to the End Zone

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It’s not every day you get to interview the CMO of PepsiCo Beverages… and his daughter! When Greg Lyons invited me into his home, via zoom of course, I not only got to spend quality time with Greg talking through career and life defining moments, but I got to meet his lovely daughter, Molly, his two Bernese Mountain Dogs, and a cameo appearance (wave from the window) from his son.

You see, one of the most remarkable things about Greg is his deep commitment to his family, his team and his peers to be respectful, inclusive and grateful for the time he spends with them. Molly, a junior in high school, made an appearance on CMO Moves to share what she’s learned about life and commitment through her Dad and how they’ve tackled some of the most challenging moments, together.

Three years ago, Greg lost his wife to cancer. Molly, who had grown up with a working father frequently on the road, lost her mom, her caretaker. Together, Greg and Molly helped each other through the dark period, renewing their relationship. And when covid hit, they both took advantage of a lot more time together. The advice they remember and live by from their wife and mother was three things. Number one, there is nothing more important than family and friends in this world. Number two, your health is critical and if you lose your health, then your life is so much less meaningful. And number three is to spend time doing what you love.

On top of Greg’s deep love for spending time with his family and friends, he’s been a super fan of marketing since way back when he was little boy and served his father as a human remote control to go change the handful of channels on their TV set. Problem was, Greg only wanted to watch the commercials as he found them to be way more interesting that the shows which led to a bit of diversion to his father’s plan.

As Greg said, he lived a full life before starting at PepsiCo 22 years ago, and still, to this day, he absolutely loves his job. Coming into PepsiCo early on, he was quick to be promoted, but he learned a very valuable lesson in that quick accent when one of his actions cost the company millions. Now most people would have been fired, Greg said, but he owned his mistake and worked closely with his C-Suite to a swift recovery.

Albeit well-intentioned, the risky move proved he simply wasn’t close enough to the shopper. From that point on, Greg made a very conscious decision to know as much as he could about his shoppers and consumers through massive amounts of data, insights and empathy.

This episode is also available on Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Apple Podcasts.

Internally, Greg feels the same responsibility for his team and his peers.

“I’ve found the key to being successful in your career is to develop fantastic relationships with the people that you work with and get to know them more than just colleagues, but as people. It makes decisions go faster. It enables more difficult conversations, develops trust, and it makes my job more fun spending time with people who I know and respect and like.”
Join us as we explore Greg’s career journey, the moves that he made, the mistakes that he learned from, how he’s planning to spend the Super Bowl for the first time in 10 years, and how he balances home, heart and happiness.

Speaking of home, heart, happiness and the Super Bowl, today we got an extra bonus when Greg Lyons and Rachel Ferdinando invited us into their kitchens to see how they make their favorite recipes for enjoying through this year’s Super Bowl LV. Of course, in true PepsiCo style, why wouldn’t they also have special guest appearances from Shaggy and Marshawn Lynch, and hosted by Jay Glazer. Their big campaign this year? Go Big and Go Home.