Dr Pepper CEO inspires McCombs students

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CEO of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Larry Young spoke to UT business students at the SAC auditorium Monday evening. Young provided his personal insights on how to succeed in the business world.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

If you pursue a career in a field you have passion for, you will be able to learn something new and laugh everyday, said Larry Young, CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.

Young spoke at the Student Activity Center on Monday as part of the Undergraduate Business Council’s VIP Speaker Series. The speaker series is held throughout each semester, hosting three to four informal interview sessions followed by an open floor question and answer session from major U.S. corporations. Guest speakers discuss their life and career and provide advice to students on how to succeed in their fields.

Beginning his career driving a route truck for Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers, Young worked his way to the top in his 30-year career, 25 of those years working for Pepsi, to become president and CEO of Dr Pepper Snapple Group after the formation of the company in October 2007.

“As head of operations, he played a central role in helping to create a new business model for a fully integrated beverage company,” said finance junior Luke Fernandez, one of the chairs for the speaker series.

With nearly a $1 million annual salary, Young has accomplished many things, such as being appointed chairman of the board of the American Beverage Association and recently being inducted into the Beverage World Soft Drink Hall of Fame.

“I had a lot of structure and a lot of discipline which was really good to start my life, and I did everything to be the best,” Young said. “When I’d get promoted I wanted to look at the next position and know what did I have to do to get there, I wanted to talk to people that have been there, I wanted to surround myself with successful people and I also realized that I had to build a team under me because when I was ready to go anybody on my team could take my position.”

One of Young’s best strategies in succeeding is having great people surrounding him and taking great risks, he said. “I think with Dr Pepper Snapple you have got to be able to make decisions very quickly, you have got to be able to beat the other guys and the only way you’re going to do that is to make sure you have the right people working for you and working with you,” Young said.

Lamar Johnson, executive director of the center for customer insights and marketing solutions said he was asked to host the event because of his business relationship with members of the company.

“I’m very proud to represent the McCombs School of Business in hosting this event,” Johnson said. “It’s an honor.”

The business council invited Young to speak because of his accomplishments and his continuing relationship with the McCombs School of Business, said Johnson.

“Dr Pepper Snapple is a strong partner with the McCombs School of Business and hires a number of our students,” Johnson said. “We love to have our strong partners come and speak to our school.”

From this event, Johnson wanted students to learn a number of life lessons.

“One is, what has Larry personally done to make sure he personally succeeds,” Johnson said. “Also, understanding the approach he took to define Dr Pepper business strategies and how he is determined to make Dr Pepper win.”

Printed on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 as: Dr Pepper CEO discusses work ethic, self determination at Speaker Series