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The job of taking two of the region’s top business programs — with their separate faculties, student bodies and administrations — and turning them into essentially one functioning unit might seem a daunting task. But Steve Reinemund knows a thing or two about making mergers work.
Before taking on the job as dean of Wake Forest University’s Calloway undergraduate and Babcock graduate business schools with the charge to oversee their “realignment,” Reinemund occupied one of the top corner offices in American corporate life as CEO and chairman of PepsiCo — the massive food and beverage conglomerate whose holdings include billion-dollar brand names like Pepsi, Tropicana, Frito-Lay and Gatorade and enough related fizzy and fruity drink labels and assorted grocery items to fill a supermarket.
Reinemund’s tenure as CEO between 2001 and 2006 saw PepsiCo’s net income increase by more than 70 percent and revenues grow from $26 billion to $35 billion annually. He also oversaw mergers and acquisitions of brand names like Naked Juice, Stacy’s Chips and his biggest single deal, the $14 billion buyout and integration of Quaker Oats.
Now, at age 60, Reinemund is launching a new phase of a career that has already won accolades ranging from Business Week’s list of “World’s Most Respected CEOs” to the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund: He wants to help Wake Forest turn out a new generation of corporate leadership that gives weight to personal and societal well-being along with the bottom line.
“I’ve articulated to our staff here that the minimum expectation is that every student leaves here with a good job, but that’s just the starting point,” Reinemund says. “Our calling is to help students find their calling. How can each individual find their capabilities, use them and make a meaningful contribution to society? My hope is that their education here prepares them for that.”
Reach Matt Evans at (336) 370-2916 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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