Michael White, chief of international businesses, director and chairman at PepsiCo Inc. has announced his plans to retire at the end of this year, the Wall Street Journal reported.
During his career at Pepsi Co., White led negotiations for the company’s $7.8 billion acquisition of its two biggest independent bottlers and Pepsi Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi has described White as her “closest partner” in running the company.
White is leaving as the company prepares to integrate the two bottlers PepsiCo acquired in August: Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. and PepsiAmericas Inc. White said PepsiCo will be well prepared to integrate the bottlers when the deal closes, probably early next year.
White also plans to remain on the board until he retires, and will continue to oversee corporate functions, such as procurement, information-technology and global-concentrate operations.
White said he first talked with Nooyi in the summer of 2008 about wanting to move on to another chapter in his life after nearly 20 years with the company. The two took the first step toward making his retirement possible by restructuring the international business last fall under two executives who will now take charge as White retires. Zein Abdalla will become chief executive of PepsiCo Europe and Saad Abdul-Latif will become CEO of PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa, the company said. Both will report to Nooyi.
Nooyi tried to convince White to stay, White told the Wall Street Journal, and put him in charge of planning the bottler acquisition last December. Nooyi credited White with leading a “dramatic transformation” of the company’s international business. Sales outside North America have grown to close to $20 billion from less than $8 billion in 2003, she noted.