American businessman John Sculley is most famous for his role in catapulting Pepsi and Apple into two of the world's best-known brands. In 1967, his corporate career began when he was hired by Pepsi-Cola Company as a trainee. By 1978 he’d become the company's youngest president and chief executive officer — eventually turning Pepsi into the largest-selling consumer packaged product in the U.S. Afterwards, Sculley was recruited by Steve Jobs to become Apple's chief executive officer, a position he held for a decade. When Sculley left Apple, revenues had grown over 1000 percent, and Apple had become the largest-selling PC computer in the world.
Since then, Sculley has co-founded or invested in technology-focused companies in many industries, including media marketing, financial services, and healthcare. In recognition of his work over the years, Sculley is the recipient of 12 honorary PhDs including from Johns Hopkins, the University of Genoa, and the London Royal College of Arts. He was also awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Currently, Sculley is a frequent CNBC TV guest and a well-known lecturer around the world at major universities and other venues.
After graduating from Brown University in the late 1950's, Sculley later enrolled in The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. This was a turning point in his life, as his experiences at the prestigious school would set the stage for his later success in Silicon Valley. At Wharton, Sculley first became infatuated with the burgeoning field of predictive analytics, or using big data analytics to inform business decisions, especially marketing. His thesis included building multiple statistical business models. At Wharton, Sculley also worked for the Management Sciences Institute and was involved with the West Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority's planning to rebuild the area around Pennsylvania. In 1963, he received his Master of Business Administration degree from Wharton.
According to Sculley, he has always had a strong bond with his alma mater. After graduating, he was on the board of overseers at the Wharton Business School for fifteen years. In addition, he continues to make regular campus visits. In 2015, for instance, Sculley dropped by Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111, to talk about technology, design gaps, and his views on being portrayed by actor Jeff Daniels in a Hollywood movie about Steve Jobs. Since then, Sculley has continued to speak with UPenn students —whether through Wharton lectures or more appearances on Wharton radio—about his experiences changing some of the biggest companies in the world by using what he gleaned during his UPenn years.