PepsiCo president leaving company in latest change

Associated Press Modified: September 11, 2012 at 10:00 pm •  Published: September 11, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo Inc. said Tuesday that its president is leaving after less than a year on the job, indicating a CEO succession may not be coming any time soon.

The Purchase, N.Y., company said John Compton's departure is effective immediately. After joining the soda and snack food giant about 30 years ago, Compton had been named to the newly created position of president in March.

PepsiCo said Zein Abdalla, CEO of its European division, will take over as president. Enderson Guimaraes, who serves as president of the company's global nutrition group, was named to head PepsiCo Europe.

Abdalla and Guimaraes are both 52.

Compton's appointment as president was the centerpiece of a management restructuring that PepsiCo announced this spring. The restructuring was intended to strengthen the company's lineup of potential successors to CEO Indra Nooyi; PepsiCo had faced speculation that Nooyi, 56, would step down amid investor dissatisfaction. She took over as CEO in 2006.

Compton and Abdalla were among those regarded internally as possible candidates.

But Compton's departure may suggest a new CEO won't be in the cards soon.

"Since February, it's been clearer and clearer that Indra is going to run this company for some years to come," said John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, the closely watched industry tracker. "I think John wanted to run his own shop, and he realized that was not going to be PepsiCo."

JPMorgan analyst John Faucher said the news was surprising and disappointing. He noted that Compton was viewed positively by Wall Street and seen as one of the candidates likely to become CEO.