PepsiCo CIO Ursula Phillips departs

ANZ arm of multinational food and beverage giant seeking replacement IT chief

PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand chief information officer Ursula Phillips is departing the company next month. 

Phillips has been with the Pepsi since 2012, and took the CIO role in 2014. She has previously worked at IBM as a consultant, at digital advisory Oakton, and food and beverage firm Lion.

Over the last year Phillips and the company’s 20-strong technology function led 140 initiatives across analytics, automation, ERP, EUC, IoT, mobile, networks, security, and web.

Ursula Phillips is departing PepsiCo
Ursula Phillips is departing PepsiCo

A couple of years ago Phillips rolled out mobile devices and laptops to the firm’s 300 staff to enable flexible working and hot-desking at their refurbished Chatswood, Sydney headquarters. PepsiCo’s field sales force – those that sell to and service customers – were given iPads to handle admin and digital tools focused on instore execution and merchandising compliance.

As well as the introduction of robotic process automation to back-office admin tasks, under Phillips’ leadership PepsiCo implemented automated filling and storage capabilities, integrated with SAP, at a number of its facilities.

IoT technologies were also adopted to collect and analyse data on manufacturing machines and to help automate production plants.

Phillips also brought about increased female representation within the IT division, which at last count stood at around half of the IT leadership and a third of the team as a whole.

“My value proposition as a leader is being able to tap into that diversity, champion the team’s achievements and clear the way so that we all succeed,” she told CIO Australia last year, when she was named one of the top 50 CIOs in Australia.

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PepsiCo has posted a job ad for the role. The successful candidate – who will need five to 10 years of IT experience – will be required to “identify and integrate business partners' annual operations plan and a strategic five year plan horizon into business capability roadmaps and priorities” and work with global delivery teams to ensure projects are delivered successfully.

Key challenges of the role include PepsiCo being “a highly matrixed organisation, across multiple geographies and time zones” and a “lean organisation, which requires the ability to manage multiple competing priorities and flex to the most compelling of demands,” the listing states.

The candidate will also need to be able to “achieve through influence and negotiation, rather than positional power” and be a role model for staff “during a time of organisational change”.


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