Keeping the global leadership team going— from now to A70, and beyond
Amway began the new year by welcoming in a new CEO. Recently, I connected with Milind Pant to talk about his thoughts and impressions of his inaugural year. He shared his insights, observations and his future goals.
Give us your initial thoughts since coming on board with Amway this past year?
It has been fascinating and I feel incredibly fortunate to be a part of this great company. The idea started with two friends—Jay and Rich—who were pioneers of helping people live better lives. That same spirit is alive and kicking at Amway today. It’s wonderful to be a part of that purpose.
What do you love the most about the direct selling business model?
The passionate energy and optimism of our independent business owners, entrepreneurs and distributors. It is truly second to nothing that I have experienced in my prior professional career. I believe this is a unique strength and outcome of the direct selling business model.
This is the first time the company has gone outside of the family for the CEO leadership. How has your prior experience helped you in your role as CEO of the largest direct selling company?
As I was going through the Amway interview process, my wife and youngest son had the chance to come to the headquarters here in Ada, Michigan. We were able to meet most of the DeVos and Van Andel family members during the trip, and the conversation with them focused less on business strategy and more on getting to know our family. The Amway founding families were so warm, genuine and welcoming. Upon leaving, I remember talking to my wife about the interview process. We both agreed that no matter what happened next, we felt lucky to have met such great people. It was then that we knew there was something very special nabout Amway. It’s something that Doug, Steve and the founding families should be very proud of continuing to build on Rich and Jay’s legacy.
“We want to pair these strengths with the megatrends that are changing the world around us.”
Regarding my experience, I believe I am a true work in progress and am privileged to be in this role. I spent the first 15 years of my career with Unilever, and the last 10 years of my career with YUM! My family and I have truly been global nomads since 2007. We’ve lived in Durban, South Africa; Delhi, India; Bangkok, Thailand; Shanghai,China; Dallas, Texas; and now, Ada, Michigan. These experiences across the globe have shaped my knowledge of people, culture, technology, business, and entrepreneurship. More than anything, I have learned that people around the world are more similar than different. We all have dreams to improve our lives and the lives of our families. And most of us desire to do good for others and contribute positively to the world. This mantra aligns well with Amway’s purpose of “Helping People Live Better Lives.” I look forward to working with our employees and ABOs to continue fulfilling this purpose each day.
Amway had their 60th anniversary this year with the event in Las Vegas. Tell us about what that milestone celebration means for the company?
Amway’s 60th anniversary celebration (A60) gave us the opportunity to thank all of our ABO leaders for living our purpose and building sustainable, growing businesses. As I was speaking during the main stage presentation, I had the help of interpreters who were doing simultaneous translation in 23 languages! This is a great picture of how far we have come since Rich and Jay started Amway 60 years ago. The products and business opportunity continue to inspire people on a global scale, and A60 was a massively important milestone.
Doug, Steve and I had a chance to not only celebrate our past, but to share thoughts on what our journey to our 70-year milestone (A70) will look like, and how we will evolve and enhance Amway’s traditional direct selling model. We took the A60 Vegas celebration as an opportunity to begin designing and executing this journey in close partnership with our ABO leaders.
How does your road to A70 or 2029 transfer to business operations?
It’s all about the journey to social commerce. Our journey to social commerce is about fulfilling our purpose in this fast-changing world and focusing on the new ABO and customer experience. We want to make it easy for our ABOs to delight their customers each day, with amazing products and frictionless shopping experiences.
In designing our future, we will build on our three biggest strengths: The entrepreneurial spirit of our ABOs; the existing, vibrant communities they have built offline-to-online; and our high-quality products from brands such as Nutrilite, Artistry and XS.
We want to pair these strengths with the mega-trends that are changing the world around us. These mega-trends include the gig economy and increasing competition among companies offering additional income opportunities; the expectation of an easy, frictionless shopping experience online; and customer feelings regarding social responsibility, quality and sustainability when buying products. With Nutrilite, as one example, we have a big foothold in this space with our amazing organic farms and seed-to-supplement traceability story.
We are investing significantly in building each of these capabilities, and we are doing this in partnership with our ABO leaders around the world.