PepsiCo has announced changes to its senior leadership to reflect the company’s future business strategies.

Laxman Narasimhan, currently chief executive officer, Latin America (LATAM), Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA), has been appointed to the newly created position of global chief commercial officer, reporting to chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta. In this new role, Narasimhan will shape PepsiCo’s integrated long-term growth strategy and lead the development of world-class commercial and marketing capabilities.

“As we pursue our new vision to ‘Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose,’ we have taken some important steps to reorganize our leadership team,” says Laguarta. “We believe these changes will enable us to better capture growth opportunities by getting closer to our consumers and deploying our global capabilities in a way that allows us to win locally in each of our markets.”

Narasimhan will oversee PepsiCo’s Global Category Groups, Insights, Commercialization, Design, Global R&D, E-Commerce and Strategy. Silviu Popovici, who has led ESSA reporting to Narasimhan, will now be chief executive officer, ESSA and report directly to Laguarta. Narasimhan will continue to lead PepsiCo’s LATAM sector on an interim basis.

Narasimhan has held several senior leadership positions with increasing responsibility during his tenure at PepsiCo. In his most recent role, he oversaw the company’s food and beverage businesses across LATAM and ESSA, with a focus on unlocking new growth opportunities for the two organizations, harmonizing commercial strategies and operating practices, developing talent, and evolving culture.

Narasimhan joined PepsiCo in 2012 from McKinsey & Company, where he served almost 20 years in a variety of positions, including as a senior partner, and co-leader of the Global Consumer and Shopper Insights Practice, as well as overseeing the firm’s research on emerging market consumers.

“Laxman is the ideal executive to take on this important new role with his vast operating experience, strategic acumen and successful track record unlocking growth opportunities across our businesses and sectors,” says Laguarta. “He will be instrumental as we sharpen our integrated long-term growth strategy and execute our plans to deliver sustainable, attractive marketplace and financial performance.”

R&D change

Dr. Mehmood Khan, vice chairman and chief scientific officer, Global Research and Development, will retire from PepsiCo. He will remain with the company in an advisory capacity. Rene Lammers, currently senior vice president of category R&D, has been appointed to the role of chief science officer, reporting to Narasimhan. In this role, Lammers will be responsible for building R&D capabilities as the company looks to continue to expand its product portfolio.

In his most recent role, Lammers was responsible for driving an integrated agenda across product, process, equipment and packaging technologies. Since joining PepsiCo in 2010, Lammers has held leadership roles across long-term research, Global Functions, Governance and Compliance and the Global Beverage Category.

“Rene is a proven leader with a strong track record of success, and his vision and oversight of our R&D function will be critically important as we work to build a robust innovation pipeline to support our growth,” says Laguarta. “On behalf of our executive team and the entire PepsiCo organization, I would like to thank Mehmood for his tireless work at PepsiCo over the last decade building our global R&D technologies and capabilities, shaping our sustainability strategy, and recruiting top talent to our team. I appreciate his willingness to stay on as an adviser to me and the company. We wish him all of the best in his next chapter.”

De-layering the business

At the same time, the company continues to delayer operating businesses with a goal of becoming faster and more locally focused. All leaders of key businesses and geographies will now report to Laguarta, including:

  • Kirk Tanner, CEO PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA)
  • Vivek Sankaran, CEO Frito Lay North America (FLNA)
  • Silviu Popovici, CEO Europe Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA)
  • Mike Spanos, CEO Asia, Middle East, North Africa (AMENA)
  • Laxman Narasimhan, interim CEO Latin America (LATAM)
  • Jim Andrew, EVP Soda Stream and Beyond Bottle Ventures