John Sculley was president of Pepsi Co during the 1970s and early 1980s
He is best known for his marketing skills, particularly in his introduction of ’the Pepsi Challenge’ at Pepsi Co,
He became CEO of Apple from 1983-1993.
What caused Pepsi Cola president John Sculley’s dramatic shift to become president and CEO of Apple computer?
Sculley, with years of experience in marketing beverages, was one rung from the top of well-established Pepsi. He’d no idea how to revive sagging computer sales at Apple, struggling to survive.
Sculley describes meeting with Steve Jobs, the brilliant but impulsive Apple founder, who’d flown to New York to recruit him. “Are you going to come?” Jobs persisted.
“Steve,” Sculley says he replied, “I love what you’re doing. … But it just doesn’t make sense.” Loath to forfeit pensions and deferred compensation, he told Jobs he’d require $1 million annually plus a million each for a signing bonus and severance pay!
Stunned at first, Jobs, recovering, said Apple would pay that kind of money. But again Sculley demurred.
Exasperated, Jobs asked, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”
“I had no answer,” writes Sculley. “It simply knocked the wind out of me.” By making him think like a visionary, Jobs eroded all his resistance.