KFC’s Accidental CEO

We read an interesting interview at Advertising Age with KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut CEO and new author David Novak. The CEO’s new book, The Education of an Accidental CEO: Lessons Learned from the Trailer Park to the Corner Office has just been released… and in it, he tries to salvage (yup) Crystal Pepsi:


If you look at what’s going on in the beverage industry today with all the flavors and the better-for-you products, Crystal Pepsi was an idea that was well ahead of its time. It was a brilliant idea. It was just poorly executed because I wouldn’t listen. I was so in love with the idea that I didn’t step away from it enough, so that I didn’t listen when people were giving viable suggestions. We could have been clearer in the positioning to have it taste a little more like Pepsi, like people suggested, and it would have been a home run. If I hadn’t rushed it to get into the Super Bowl, which is always the big thing at Pepsi, we would have had a lot better product quality. … Sometimes people will say “It can’t be done” every step of the way, and as a leader, I have to say, “Man, I’m gonna follow my convictions,” and that’s what I did in this case. The problem is that sometimes when people say “It can’t be done” every step of the way, they might be right. … The thing that upsets me about Crystal Pepsi isn’t that it failed; it’s that it could have been so great.

Novelty sodas for everyone, man. Novelty sodas for everyone.

A Crash Course From Yum’s ‘Accidental CEO [AdAge]
The Education of an Accidental CEO [Random House]

[Image via Ad Age]

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KFC’s Accidental CEO