Donald Kendall, widely regarded as the co-founder of the modern PepsiCo, has died of natural causes aged 99.
In response to his family’s announcement, PepsiCo published a tribute to Kendall – who served the company for a total of 39 years – and described him as the person responsible in building the beverage and snack giant.
Kendall became president and CEO of the Pepsi-Cola Company in 1963 in which he headed its merger with the Frito-Lay snack business, based on the simple truth that most people eating crisps are enjoying a beverage at the same time.
He served as CEO of Pepsi-Cola and PepsiCo for 23 years and reportedly saw its revenues increase almost 40-fold from $200 million to $7.6 billion.
While Kendall officially retired in 1986, he remained a trusted advisor and advocate for PepsiCo leaders. As well as overseeing the Frito-Lay merger, during his time as CEO, Kendall acquired Mountain Dew and introduced Diet Pepsi to the market.
Born in 1921 in Washington, Kendall began his career as a salesman before enlisting in the Navy as a pilot. He started his career at PepsiCo in 1947 on a bottling line following an application for a sales position. However, he quickly moved to selling fountain syrup to restaurants and by 35 years old, he was named the top sales and marketing executive in the company.
In 1957, he was appointed president of Pepsi-Cola International and come the end of this position, the brand was sold in 103 countries. Kendall was also said to have raised the bar for corporate responsibility and early developments in recyclable packaging, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water conservation.
Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta made the following statement on the passing of Kendall:
“All of us at PepsiCo are devastated by the passing of Don Kendall. Don was the architect of the PepsiCo family. He was relentless about growing our business, a fearless leader, and the ultimate salesman. He believed in business as a way to build bridges between cultures, laying the foundation of our commitment to Winning with Purpose and defining the values that we refer to today as The PepsiCo Way. In many ways, he was the man who made PepsiCo, PepsiCo.”
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