Vice President of Mars talks business with LSST’s Founder and CEO

Kunal Chan Mehta

By Kunal Chan Mehta | Article Date: 9 February 2017

Vice President

Mars is one of the world’s fastest growing consumer packaged goods companies that constantly delivers on quality and value. It owns brands from Wrigley’s to Bounty to m&m’s to Uncle Ben’s and ranks as one of the best places to work through its ‘no walls, no borders and no limits’ approach.

Photo source: Andy Pharoah’s own

Mars is famed for not having employees – it has Associates!LSST students have already noted that only through excellent leadership and management can Mars’ products be responsible for bringing so much pleasure to hundreds of millions of people around the world.

To find out more, Mr Syed Zaidi, CEO and founder of LSST, interviews Andy Pharoah – the globally respected Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at Mars:


1. What do you do for Mars, Incorporated?

I joined the Mars Leadership Team as Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Strategic Initiatives in September 2016. Mars is based in McLean, Virginia and Mars has net sales of more than $35 billion and business segments in Pet care, Confectionery, Food, Drinks and Symbio science. We operate 421 sites in 78 countries.

Mars was founded in 1911, when Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen. In 1932, Forrest Mars, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom and built a diversified business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders.” This objective is one of the Five Principles of Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom that serve to unite and guide more than 80,000 Mars Associates as they do business every day.

My role has two core parts. Corporate Affairs stewards the company’s communication, government relations and stakeholder engagement. Strategic Initiatives leads management team effectiveness and helping to lead delivery of transformative strategic initiatives for Mars, Incorporated.

Prior to my current role, I served as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Sustainability & Strategy for Mars’ Wrigley business since 2009. My responsibilities encompassed all aspects of Corporate Affairs, leadership of Global Sustainability, and leadership of the development and deployment of Wrigley business strategy.

2. What are your long-term goals for Mars Inc?

Mars is an amazing company with a dynamic business and with a very differentiated approach to doing business. I see my role as primarily about helping Mars have the conversations that any world leading company needs to have with employees – that we call Associates and also consumers, local communities, governments and the media.

3. You are a globally renowned leader in corporate affairs, why choose Mars?

I joined Wrigley in Munich 2008 as European Corporate Affairs Director. I joined from Hill & Knowles who I’d been with for 13 years including my final four years leading the Corporate Communications Practice for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Before that I’d worked for a Trade Association and a UK Political Party. What attracted me to Wrigley was that I felt that communications could make a difference to the company and the role was set up for success organizationally plus I thought it would be interesting and it certainly has been.

When I joined Wrigley it was an independent public company but seven months into my new job Mars acquired Wrigley – and since then it has been run as one of Mars divisions. I was a little unsure at first of what this might mean. But I discovered pretty soon that I really liked the company and, importantly, the company liked me. Within a year I was promoted to lead Corporate Affairs globally for Wrigley. Mars is amazing place to work. There is incredible opportunity to make a difference and have fun.

4. What are the Principles in Action at Mars?

Mars is incredibly principled in business. The Five Principles are the key to our culture, and we strive to live by them each and every day. They serve as a compass to help guide our business decisions and unite us across geographies, languages, cultures and generations. The result is stronger relationships with everyone — our consumers, customers, business partners, communities and each other.

Our Principles in Action are about how we do business and in doing so make a positive difference to people and planet.

We care about commitment. Our company and Associates have been committed to The Five Principles of Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom for generations, and we know they’re going to continue to guide us to our best future.

Our principles of Mutuality and Freedom are what set us apart from the crowd. Mars goes beyond what’s normally expected of companies with our commitment to creating mutual benefits for all those involved in our success. And as a private, family-owned business, we have the freedom to be bold — making long-term investments to tackle big issues like climate change and food security for the benefit of everyone. We believe we can create a successful and sustainable future for all by working together.

5. What inspires you to be your best?

I’m inspired by the company I work for, what it stands for, the difference it makes and people I work with.

6. What motivational advice do you have for LSST’s students?

Be curious, be principled, never assume anything and be willing to speak your mind. Plus remember there is a good deal of truth in in the Woody Allen quote that “80% of success is showing up”.

7. Can LSST students and staff have some free Mars chocolates please?

Nice try…

To see more go to:

For careers visit:

For Mars Principles in Action visit:

Note from the Deputy CEO:

First, I would like to personally thank our students who inspired our CEO and senior management team to venture and search for excellence in global corporate leadership. Second, Andy demonstrates that Mars Inc is clearly a stand-out organisation with its Associate – not employees – stance as well as its no-walls approach to global business. I personally send him my heart-felt gratitude for taking the time out for speaking with LSST and acknowledging our proud partnerships with London Metropolitan University and University of West London – despite having his offices in Washington DC!

Perhaps the next time you eat one of the many chocolate products made by Mars – consider the findings of this interview and how it can positively impact the way you work and succeed in life.

Mohammed Zaidi, Deputy CEO, LSST

Please email the author of this article for any questions or comments.