Pepsico rejig could see three potential successors to Nooyi

PepsiCo Inc in a revamp of its global structure yesterday sought to deepen its management bench that could finally set the stage for a successor to emerge to chief executive Indra Nooyi according to analysts.

The move sees John Compton, currently CEO of its Americas Foods division, assume the newly-created position of the president of PepsiCo.

It also named Brian Cornell, who most recently ran the Sam's Club unit of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, as a replacement for Compton. He would be responsible for Frito-Lay North America, Quaker oatmeal and several other brands.

Beverage Digest editor John Sicher said the management moves were about Nooyi and PepsiCo doing some 'bench strengthening' and bringing back a talented executive. He cited sources who also said Compton should not be viewed as Nooyi's sole heir apparent.

Reuters, citing an unnamed source, said, Compton, Cornell and Zein Abdalla, who run PepsiCo's European operations, were the three most likely internal candidates. The source added, that Hugh Johnston, PepsiCo's chief financial officer, was also on the list, but a little further down.

Though her five-year tenure has been hurt by the global financial crisis, recession and unprecedented commodity inflation, Nooyi has also had to take flak for taking her eye off the core business of sodas to expand into healthier products such as hummus and drinkable oatmeal.