Richard Montañez leads Multicultural Sales & Marketing across Pepsi North American divisions. He started his PepsiCo career at Frito-Lay in 1976 as a janitor and is recognized as the creator of the Flamin’ Hot line of products, which have become a billion-dollar business and a cultural phenomenon.
Recognized for his visionary leadership, ability to innovate and his commitment to diversity, Montañez has received several notable awards and is often named one of the most influential Latinos in corporate America. He is the only four-time recipient of PepsiCo’s Chairman’s Award, the highest honor given to employees based on performance and work ethic. As a long-standing mentor and executive sponsor of PepsiCo’s Latino and Hispanic employee group, Adelante, Montañez has supported and nurtured the careers of hundreds of PepsiCo employees. Montañez is also a committed philanthropist and founder of Onelite, a nonprofit that provides hundreds of high-need families within the United States with food and school supplies.
He serves on several boards or directors and advisory boards. He was also the first Latino board member to serve on the board of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an African American civil rights organization, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Montañez is a sought-after motivational speaker, speaking to corporate groups like Target, WalMart, and Slalom, as well as universities such as USC and Harvard. He has been featured in TV and print outlets, such as Good Morning America, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Fortune and Newsweek. His story is now the subject of a forthcoming biopic from Fox Searchlight Films.