This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with top marketing executives designed to offer you insights to help further your own career. Here you will learn what makes these executives successful and what they value most in those who work for them.
The following is a transcript of a conversation between MarketingProfs Senior Contributor William Arruda and Micky Pant, the Chief Marketing Officer of Yum, parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. Micky was previously CMO of Reebok. The transcript has been edited for clarity and readability. This interview is also available in audio for our Annual Premium members. Click here to play the podcast.
William Arruda: You have a graduate degree from one of the world's most prestigious engineering schools in chemical engineering, and now you are the Chief Marketing Officer for Yum, KFC, and Pizza Hut. How does one make that career transition? Was this your plan at the beginning?
Micky Pant: I can assure you it was not the plan, because when I studied chemical engineering I thought that that's what I would do. But late in the chemical engineering program, I was in a factory run by the British Shell Corporation—a refinery, actually. At the lunch hour, all of us trainee engineers used to meet, and we also met guys from the marketing function.
All of us engineers would be covered in grime and suds and smelling of various chemicals. The marketing guys would describe how they met a fashion model in the morning and how they are going to have a shoot in the afternoon—[I thought] what the hell are we doing wrong!?
So I made a pitch to Unilever to accommodate me in marketing, and they agreed. Early on, I switched to marketing [permanently]. So that's the story...and I have enjoyed it so I didn't really think of doing anything else after I started down this path. But it really was not a plan at all.
William Arruda: Your being in consumer products goods was not necessarily a plan either, was it?
Micky Pant: That is correct. I started with Unilever and I worked with them for 15 years. Unilever is all about consumer goods, so I guess that got me locked into a kind of a frame of work. I worked briefly for PepsiCo and then for 10 years for Reebok International, so I've principally been in consumer goods.
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