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‘Grab every opportunity,’ says top PepsiCo official to AUS students
Saad Abdul Latif, Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) delivered an engaging lecture entitled "My Path at PepsiCo and Lessons Learned Along the Way" to students, alumni, faculty and staff of American University of Sharjah (AUS) at the university recently.
Based in Dubai, Abdul Latif, who has led the business since September 2008, oversees all PepsiCo food and beverage businesses which generate more than AED 22 billion (US$6 billion) in annual revenues. Prior to his current post, he led PepsiCo's South Asia, Middle East and Africa business for five years.
"I first walked in to the PepsiCo office in Dubai in 1982. Over the years I have been with the company, I have learnt many valuable lessons. These lessons have helped me get to where I am today," he said. "I would like to urge everyone to always take the initiative; when an opportunity presents itself, grab it and don't let it go. I would also advise you to go where others do not dare to go. Often in life, the biggest risks will often give you the biggest rewards," he said during his lecture.
Touching on some specific lessons learnt, Abdul Latif urged his audience, comprising students, alumni, faculty members, as well as senior university officials, to be proactive in their personal advancements and to take advantage of all available opportunities.
In addition to advice pertaining to success in the corporate world, Abdul Latif also spoke about the many important charitable initiatives that PepsiCo is involved in. These include programs such as Tomooh that has placed over 5,000 students in higher education through grants and scholarships. Other initiatives Abdul Latif is involved in include PlaNet Finance and the Arab International Women's Forum.
As CEO of the company's AMEA Division, Abdul Latif is responsible for a territory that spans more than 90 countries and is home to more than 70 percent of the world's population. A 30-year PepsiCo veteran, he has held a wide range of international roles in the corporation's food and beverage businesses since joining the company in 1982.
Abdul-Latif holds an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management in Arizona and a BA in Public Administration from the American University of Beirut.
The lecture was part of the AUS Chancellor's Distinguished Lecture Series, in collaboration with the AUS academic units and the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs. It was attended by Dr. Peter Heath, Chancellor of AUS; Dr. Thomas Hochstettler, Provost; Dr. Nada Mourtada-Sabbah, AUS Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs, as well as other senior university officials.