US food and beverages giant PepsiCo has announced changes at the senior executive level which it said will “support the company’s strategic priorities and growth agenda”.

Laxman Narasimhan, the CEO of PepsiCo’s operations across Latin America, Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, has been appointed to the newly-created position of global chief commercial officer, reporting to recently-installed 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”, specifically overseeing the company’s global category groups, insights, commercialisation, design, global R&D, e-commerce and strategy. 

One of his current roles will now be taken up by Silviu Popovici, who has led the Lay’s maker’s units in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, reporting to Narasimhan. He will will now be CEO of the businesses in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa and report directly to Laguarta. 

Narasimhan will continue to lead PepsiCo’s operations in Latin America on an interim basis.

PepsiCo said it is continuing to “delayer operating businesses with a goal of becoming faster and more locally focused”.

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All leaders of key businesses and geographies will now report to Laguarta, including Vivek Sankaran, the CEO of PepsiCo’s Frito Lay North America division and Mike Spanos, who is the CEO of the food giant’s operations across Asia, the Middle East and north Africa.

Laguarta said: “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 reorganise our leadership team. 

“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.”

Commenting on Narasimhan’s appointment, Laguarta said: “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. 

“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.”

PepsiCo also revealed chief science officer Dr Mehmood Khan will retire from the company this month. He will remain with the company in an advisory capacity but the CSO role will now be taken on by Rene Lammers, currently senior vice president of category R&D.

Lammers, who will report to Narasimhan, will be responsible for building R&D capabilities linked to product portfolio expansion.

Laguarta, who took over from PepsiCo’s long-term CEO Indra Nooyi in October, has wasted no time in making his presence felt. Last month the company revealed it was instigating a multi-year restructuring plan to simplify its business model and also announced it was buying sport nutrition business CytoSport from Hormel Foods, a deal worth US$465m.

From the just-food archive, August 2018: Cereal? Health? A company split? What might be next for PepsiCo under new CEO Ramon Laguarta