PURCHASE, N.Y. -- As talk of chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi preparing to retire makes the rounds, PepsiCo Inc. announced three senior leadership appointments June 20.
In moves that the company said support its "strategic priorities and growth agenda," Ramon Laguarta, currently CEO of Europe Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA), will become president of PepsiCo; Laxman Narasimhan, currently CEO of Latin America, will become CEO of Latin America and ESSA; and Silviu Popovici, currently president of Russia, Ukraine and Commonwealth of Independent States, has been named president of ESSA.
"PepsiCo has consistently delivered top-tier financial performance while simultaneously making investments that position the company for sustainable long-term growth," Nooyi said. "Our ability to perform while we transform is a testament to our people.
"All across the business, from our frontline associates to our senior executives, PepsiCo is home to the very best talent in the industry. We have built a strong bench of senior executives, and these leadership appointments will further enhance our efforts to create shareholder value and propel our company forward."
In his new role as president of PepsiCo, Laguarta will shape the beverage and snack company's corporate strategy, work closely with business units to deliver top line growth, drive productivity to enable this growth, and invest in new areas of disruptive innovation, all in support of the company's previously announced Performance with Purpose 2025 agenda.
Specifically, he will oversee PepsiCo's Global Category Groups; its Global Operations, Corporate Strategy and Public Policy & Government Affairs functions; and the PepsiCo Foundation. Operationally, he will work closely with Mehmood Khan, vice chairman and chief scientific officer, to drive category innovation and progress against PepsiCo's sustainability goals.
Laguarta brings more than 20 years of PepsiCo experience to his new role. In his most recent position, he led the transformation of the company's European product portfolio and significantly strengthened PepsiCo's position in key growth markets. Prior to becoming ESSA CEO, he served as PepsiCo Europe's president of developing and emerging markets. Previous roles include president of PepsiCo Eastern Europe Region; commercial vice president for PepsiCo Europe; general manager for Iberia Snacks and Juices; and general manager for Greece Snacks.
Laguarta will continue to report to Nooyi.
"Ramon, Laxman and Silviu are highly respected executives with long track records of delivering strong results throughout their careers," Nooyi said. "These moves continue our longstanding practice of elevating great leaders within PepsiCo and allowing them to apply their capabilities in new ways that support our strategies for growth. We have an incredibly strong executive team in place, and I have no doubt that our next generation of talent will lift our company to even greater heights in the years ahead."
Nooyi has talked about preparing the Purchase, N.Y.-based company for her eventual departure from the company, leading many to believe she will announce her retirement soon. She has led the company for 11 years.