Building trust is critical to success: PepsiCo India CEO

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XLRI- Xavier School of Management, one of India’s premier B-Schools, recently held the 23rd Annual JRD Tata Oration on Business Ethics.  Mr. D Shivakumar, Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo India delivered the oration at the Tata Auditorium at XLRI Campus on 29th November, 2014.

In his oration, Mr. Shivakumar delved on the topic of – “Building Trust”.

He pointed out, “Trust is declining in most countries, societies, companies and relationships. Trust is declining because values are not being practiced. We don’t see enough examples of everyday practice of values. Trust is declining because we are not increasing inclusivity.”

“In an organization trust is the glue that keeps the culture together. Trust in senior management keeps hopes alive, trust in senior management gets people to commit their best. Trust in senior management attracts good talent to the company”, he said.

He observed, “The best leaders know that building trust is critical to their success. Leaders build trust when they bring clarity to the table, they communicate with passion about the purpose. They consistently set a high benchmark and will not drop it to appease a few people. They connect emotionally with large bands of people. They have a high degree of commitment to do the right thing and agonize with their time and effort to do the right thing. They are always grateful for the chance to be the leader and show that in many ways to people, teams and corporations they lead. A good leader never compromises on his vision, but compromises for his vision. That’s what builds trust for him or her.”

In his speech, Mr. Shivakumar stressed that, “Building back trust is far more difficult compared to building Trust from scratch. Leaders can build trust by being straight and honest with their stakeholders. That transparency builds more trust than selectively discussing information. The outcome of telling the truth is that you don’t have to remember it. Truth telling is a step ahead of whistle blowing. Ethics and good governance are foundations of building trust. A company can only build trust in a digital world if the company is humble, responsive and orchestrates the response from within the company to address stakeholders concerns.”

The session was attended by Fr. E Abraham, S. J. Director of XLRI, Dr. Pranabesh Ray, Dean [Academics] at XLRI and Fr Ozzie Mascarenhas, S.J. JRD Tata Chair & Professor of Business Ethics at XLRI.

On the occasion, welcoming Mr. Shivakumar, Fr. E Abraham, S. J. Director of XLRI said, “In the public mind, ethics in business are mainly connected with financial integrity. Important as that is, the real meaning of the word “ethics” goes far beyond that. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the science of morals in human conduct, a moral principle or code.” The word ethics encompasses the entire spectrum of human conduct.  Business ethics encompass how a person in business deals with his or her: Colleagues, Staff and workers, Shareholders, Customers, The community, The Government, The environment and foremost The Nation, and its interests. It is our belief that ethical behavior by the leaders of any nation or organization will inevitably set the tone for the rest to follow, ultimately leading to a “just, humane and equitable” society.”

“Given XLRI’s Jesuit background as an institution with grounding in social justice, we have always stressed upon the importance of pursuing an ethical code of conduct both in the workplace and in the business world. We believe that no management education curriculum is really complete, unless and until the students are instilled with a set of enduring values – that are indispensable ingredients for any aspiring business leader in today’s world. It is for this reason that a core course on “Managerial Ethics” is compulsorily offered to all our students at XLRI since early nineties”, he added.

“Ethics deals with human behavior and is currently reckoned as a responsible action program for the betterment of individuals, groups, organizations and societies.  Ethics empowers us to chart and live a new value-laden direction in life. It becomes relevant wherever people interact and function together.  Hence, every field of business such as planning and strategy, accounting, finance, human resources management, business law, marketing, business research, and production management involves ethical issues and challenges”, Fr Ozzie Mascarenhas, S.J. JRD Tata Chair & Professor of Business Ethics at XLRI commented in his introductory remarks.

He added, “The Annual JRD Tata Ethics Oration Day is traditionally honoring JRD Tata’s vision of ethics and values.”


XLRI in association with select Tata Group Companies established the JRD Tata Foundation in Business Ethics in 1991, to mark their long-standing commitment and contribution to business ethics in India. The Foundation seeks to address itself by publicly affirming the urgent need for ethics in business and the need to bring about a conducive culture in which it can thrive.  An increasing number of organizations are realizing the importance of ethics in business in today’s world

XLRI is the first B-school in the country to introduce a core course on “Managerial Ethics” for both its HRM and BM programmes.  Each year, XLRI confers a medal on the best student in Managerial Ethics at the institute’s annual convocation.