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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 4, April 2012, Posted On: 3/12/2012

PepsiCo Restructures Executive Team, Lining Up Possible Successors To CEO Indra Nooyi

Emily Jed
Pepsi, PepsiCo, PepsiCo management, Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, Tropicana juice, Indra Nooyi, Americas Food division, John Compton, Brian Cornell, Zein Abdalla

PURCHASE, NY -- PepsiCo has revamped its management structure with the creation of a new president's post and the return of a former executive to head up its Americas Food division. The move positions PepsiCo as a more global company and is widely regarded as a bid to line up a potential successor to chief executive Indra Nooyi.

PepsiCo's current Americas Foods chief executive, John Compton, 50, will become the company's first-ever president, making him the company's No. 2 executive. A 30-year PepsiCo veteran, Compton will be responsible for uniting the snack and beverage giant's varied global operations.

Succeeding Compton will be former Wal-Mart chief executive Brian Cornell, 52. As Americas Foods chief executive, he will be in charge of the Purchase, NY, company's North American Frito-Lay and Quaker Foods businesses, along with PepsiCo Mexico and the foods division in South America.

Cornell, who left Sam's Club in February, previously held executive positions at arts and crafts retailer Michaels and supermarket chain Safeway. He once ran the Tropicana brand and Pepsi's beverage operations in Europe and Africa.

"Today marks an important and essential step in PepsiCo's journey to continue to deliver sustainable growth," Nooyi said. "John and Brian are superb executives and will both contribute enormously in their new roles to ensure that we compete effectively and efficiently in the global marketplace."

The executive shuffle comes amid investor dissatisfaction with Nooyi, 56, who became PepsiCo's chief executive in 2006. She has come under fire for a stagnant stock price and a lagging North American beverage business.

The appointments position Cornell and Compton, along with European operations chief Zein Abdalla, as the top internal candidates to succeed Nooyi, according to industry analysts.

Last month, Nooyi announced a plan to turn around the company's North American beverage division, which has lost market share to rival Coca-Cola Co. It includes cutting 8,700 jobs and boosting the company's marketing budget by as much as $600 million. | SEE STORY

Despite calls from investors for Pepsi to spin off its snacks division, the company said as recently as last month that it has no divestiture plans.

The maker of Pepsi, Frito-Lay snacks and Tropicana juices said it expects its profit will fall about 5% this year, but anticipates $1.5 billion in savings within two years. It also expects to return to "high-single-digit'' earnings growth next year.

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