A Sad Day for Me Today

Thirty years ago I met a tall, charismatic, young, brilliant Palestinian called Saad Abdul-Latif. He was working at Pepsi-Co in the Middle East when I joined them as Director of Operations. Saad was a graduate of Thunderbird Arizona and was blessed with an optimistic, problem-solving attititude one rarely encounters. He made it from a tough background and we promoted him consistently through various marketing positions in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia. He subsequently became one of Pepsico’s top executives and achieved the lofty heights of CEO Pepsi-Co for Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Today I heard that Saad passed away. The world is a darker place. Pepsi-Co Chairman, Indra Nooyi, wrote “Saad was much more than a business leader. He was brave. He was loyal. He was a teacher. He loved his family.” All true.

One of my greatest memories is of Saad’s wedding when my eldest son, Ben, sat proudly on Saad’s knee. Ben has become a big man too and I can’t help but think Saad played a positive role in my son’s growth. As he did for many.

We’ll miss him.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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