PepsiCo Inc. has promoted Laxman Narasimhan to the newly created position of chief commercial officer. And Mehmood Khan, deputy chairman and chief science officer, is retiring this month.
Several news organizations were reporting the moves, including that Rene Lammers will take over Khan's role as chief science officer. No word about a new vice chairman, although Hugh Johnston, who also is CFO, also holds the VC title.
Ramon Laguarta, CEO for five months now and chairman just since Feb. 1, appears to be realigning the organization for his strategy. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Feb. 14, the company unveiled a multi-year, $2.5 billion "productivity plan" that will include unspecified layoffs and plant closings.
Narasimhan joined PepsiCo in 2012 from McKinsey & Co. and has been CEO of the company's Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa businesses. The 51-year-old will oversee key operations including marketing, research and development, strategy and e-commerce at a time when the company grapples with changing tastes and economic uncertainty that have created challenges for consumer companies, according to the Forbes report.
Khan, who has been with the company since December 2007 and is an M.D., reportedly will become CEO of Life Biosciences Inc., a biotech startup with more than $75 million in venture capital funding. Prior to joining PepsiCo, Khan was president of Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co.’s worldwide R&D efforts and he was a faculty member at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., specializing in diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism and nutrition.
Lammers' LinkedIn profile lists him as PepsiCo's senior VP of R&D for Global Beverages.