PepsiCo Promotes Laguarta to Vacant President Post

July 21, 2017
Another possible successor to Chairman/CEO Indra Nooyi?

Ramon Laguarta, CEO of PepsiCo's Europe and sub-Saharan Africa business, will become PepsiCo’s global president, a title that has been unoccupied for nearly three years.

Laguarta has more than 20 years in at the company. Before his recent post, he was PepsiCo Europe's president of developing and emerging markets. Previous roles include president, PepsiCo Eastern Europe Region; commercial vice president for PepsiCo Europe; general manager for Iberia Snacks and Juices; and general manager for Greece Snacks.

Laguarta will shape PepsiCo's corporate strategy, work closely with business units to deliver top line growth, drive productivity to enable this growth, and invest in new areas of disruptive innovation, the company explained. The company statement noted Laguarta "will work closely with Mehmood Khan, vice chairman and chief scientific officer, to drive category innovation and progress against PepsiCo's sustainability goals."

Laguarta’s current duties will be given to Laxman Narasimhan, who will add the Europe and sub-Saharan Africa business to his current duties as CEO of the huge Latin America business. Narasimhan joined PepsiCo in 2012 from McKinsey & Co.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO, said she intends to keep running the company “for the foreseeable future.” However, the 61-year-old added the promotions are meant to stretch executives and prepare them to be contenders for her job. The leading internal candidates to succeed Nooyi, according to the Journal, include Laguarta, Narasimhan and Hugh Johnston, PepsiCo’s chief financial officer, who in 2015 was named vice chairman and put in charge of e-commerce and information technology.

We would add to that list Khan, who has been with the company 10 years. He's an M.D., was a faculty member at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School and just before joining PepsiCo was president of Takeda Pharmaceuticals' Global Research & Development Center.

In addition, Silviu Popovici, currently president of business in Russia, Ukraine and CIS, has been named president of Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Popovici held several general management positions with the Coca-Cola system in Eastern Europe.

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