NEW YORK — Roger A. Enrico, former chief executive officer of PepsiCo, Inc. and the only individual to serve as c.e.o. of each of PepsiCo’s three primary business divisions: beverages, foods and restaurants, died June 1. He was 71 years old.
Mr. Enrico was born in 1944 in Chisholm, Minn., the son of a factory worker. After graduating from Babson College, he joined the navy. While serving in Vietnam, Mr. Enrico admired his commanding officer’s resourcefulness and willingness to break the rules, lessons he kept with him for the rest of his career. According to PepsiCo, Mr. Enrico stated that transporting fuel in Vietnam was his first lesson in “delivering precious liquids to his consumers.”
After returning to the United States, Mr. Enrico had a brief stint as assistant brand manager for Wheaties at General Mills Inc., and later joined PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division as a brand manager for Funyuns. Several years and a few international assignments later, he was put in charge of Pepsi-Cola marketing and dubbed the “Cola King.”
In 1983, Mr. Enrico was the architect behind the “Choice for a New Generation Campaign” with pop star Michael Jackson. He also was responsible for enlisting other pop stars such as Madonna and Lionel Ritchie. After suffering a heart attack in 1990, he changed pace and reevaluated his career, switching to a smaller role within the company. He was chairman and c.e.o. of Frito-Lay from 1991-93.
In 1994, he was asked to take over as chairman and c.e.o. of PepsiCo Worldwide Restaurants, a role he held for two years before he was asked to take over as c.e.o. of PepsiCo, Inc.
While c.e.o. from 1996-2001, Mr. Enrico completed the purchase of Tropicana, beat out Coca-Cola in the Quaker Oats acquisition and oversaw the spin-off of the restaurant division. He was vice-chairman of the company from 1997-2001 and chairman from 2001-03.
Following his retirement, he served as chairman of the board for Dreamworks Animation and was a board member of the National Geographic Society, the Environmental Defense Fund and the American Film Institute.
Indra Nooyi, c.e.o. of PepsiCo, called Mr. Enrico “one of the most creative marketers of his or any generation.”
“Today is an incredibly sad day for the PepsiCo family, for we have lost one of our true legends of our company and our industry,” Ms. Nooyi said in a statement.Survivors include his wife, Rosemary; a son, Aaron; and three grandchildren.