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Episode 023 – Greg Hughes, President, North America, Beam Suntory

On this episode of the Executives’ Exchange, we are joined by Greg Hughes, President of North America’s Beam Suntory. Greg sits down for a conversation with guest moderator Andy Callahan, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Hostess Brands. They discuss how Japanese-style Gemba culture has changed how his leadership team operates and ways we can all think about leading in new, lean ways.

0:52 – Greg discuss the origins of “Gemba”
4:25 – Leading from the front—Greg & Andy discuss developing leadership skills
7:05 – Greg discusses what Gemba is not  
9:03 – Four ways to scale up across a broader footprint of people
14:12 – Andy and Greg discuss the challenges of leadership during the pandemic  
17:52 – Andy discusses the silver lining that provides the opportunity for something better 
22:21 – Greg discusses implementing Gemba in the social media space 
25:04 – Connecting brands with culture and employee base; the need to be empathetic & inclusive 27:56 – Building global brands while acknowledging there’s no global consumer—understanding what’s universal about brands and what’s local that’s adaptable  
30:10 – What are some of the trends you see in your business?  
34:00 – Gemba intersects everything you do—team, business strategy and provides the very foundation of how you think.  
35:40 – The most significant challenges with Gemba  
39:46 – Greg discusses how his leadership translates into building the culture you want in the organization 
43:30 – Gemba enables employees to engage  

Episode link: Beam Suntory

Guest Host: Andy Callahan, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Hostess Brands
Producer: Eva Penar, Chief Content & Communications Officer, The Executives’ Club of Chicago

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