December 10, 2008
Executive Connection with Doug DeVos, President, Amway,
In this month’s Executive Connection, Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming spoke to Doug DeVos, President, Amway, about Amway’s history, its future and much more.
DSN: What is the one thing you enjoy most about being President of Amway Corp.?
DD: What I enjoy most is seeing people—from all walks of life and all levels of success—achieve at a business created by my father, Rich, and his best friend, the late Jay Van Andel. From what they began as a relatively small direct selling business in the United States, their heirs and the millions of hard-working distributors have expanded into a more than $7 billion enterprise that operates in more than 80 countries and territories around the world. Today, Amway truly is a global organization that offers business opportunities to more than 3 million independent distributors.
DSN: What has been your greatest challenge since taking this job?
DD: The most fulfilling challenge has been initiating change at our 50-year-old company—seeing what works and what doesn’t—and then getting everybody, employees and distributors alike, to embrace the changes. Today, Amway is shifting from a sales-driven company of top-quality beauty, nutritional and household products to a world-class marketing organization that commercially applies innovative research and development to improve the lives of millions of customers.
DSN: Amway has been very successful under two generations of the DeVos and Van Andel families. To what do you attribute your success?
DD: Partnership, Integrity and Accountability—the founding principles spelled out by Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel. This is a business built on the simple integrity of helping people lead better lives and carrying on our tradition of opportunity and success.
DSN: What do you see as our industry’s greatest challenge?
DD: Our industry continues to cope with reputation problems, past stereotypes and bad players that don’t uphold the ethical values of most members of our industry. Still, the future success of the MLM industry will belong to the companies that put the customer front and center of everything they do—meeting their and their families needs and desires to lead better lives.
DSN: What values do you and Steve Van Andel want Amway to uphold?
DD: Acceptance of the global diversity that is Amway today, striving for achievement for all involved in our enterprise, encouraging true partnership between our employees and our independent entrepreneurs, upholding standards of integrity by which customers will judge our business, and encouraging hope that we all can make a difference.
DSN: Leaders usually draw on something or someone for inspiration, guidance and direction. Do you have a hero or heroine?
DD: That’s easy—Amway’s founders, our fathers.
DSN: Next year Amway will celebrate its 50th anniversary. How significant is that?
DD: Really significant. We made it!