PepsiCo Inc., the international food and beverage giant that owns Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and other brands, shuffled some of its top management positions in an attempt to create a line of succession behind current chairman and chief executive Indra K. Nooyi.
Brian Cornell, recently chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Sam’s Club division, is returning to the fold as chief executive of PepsiCo Americas Food. He’s replacing John Compton, who will take on the new position of president of PepsiCo.
"Today marks an important and essential step in PepsiCo's journey to continue to deliver sustainable growth," Nooyi said in a statement.
Cornell will manage the North American operations of Frito-Lay and Quaker Foods & Snacks along with the company’s business in Mexico and South America. The PepsiCo alum was once chief executive at arts and crafts retailer Michaels Stores Inc. and an executive at supermarket chain Safeway Inc.
In a newly created post, Compton will take on PepsiCo’s global categories, including beverages, snacks and nutrition, along with other operations, while spearheading product innovations and cost-cutting strategies for the company.
The bench-bolstering measures come as Nooyi tries to turn around the company, which has lost market share to competitor Coca-Cola Co. Nooyi took over as chief executive in 2007, when the company’s stock was flirting with $70 a share; PepsiCo hasn’t seen such heights since.
The company's stock was up about 1.4%, or 89 cents, to $64.04 in midday trading Monday in New York.
Last month, PepsiCo said it would lay off 8,700 employees through 2014 in an attempt to boost productivity, while also increasing its advertising and marketing budget by as much as $600 million this year.
PepsiCo’s net income for the 2011 fiscal year, which ended on Dec. 31, rose 2% to $6.4 billion even as beverage sales in the key North America market slipped.