Roger Enrico

Former chairman and chief executive officer, PepsiCo

Nationality: American.

Born: November 11, 1944, in Chisholm, Minnesota.

Education: Babson College, bachelor's degree, 1965.

Family: Married Rosemary Margo, 1969; children: one.

Career: General Mills, 1970–1971, marketing assistant; Frito-Lay, beginning in 1971, associate production manager; Pepsi-Cola International, vice president of southern Latin America unit; Pepsi-Cola Bottling Group, 1980–1981, senior vice president of sales and marketing; Pepsi-Cola USA, 1982–1983, executive vice president; PepsiCo Beverages & Foods, 1983–1986, president and CEO; PepsiCo Worldwide Beverages, 1987–1991, CEO; Frito-Lay and PepsiCo Foods International, 1991–1993, chairman and CEO; PepsiCo Worldwide Restaurants, 1994–1995, president and CEO; PepsiCo, 1996, CEO; 1997–2001, vice chairman and CEO; 2001–2003, chairman.

Awards: Soft Drink Hall of Fame, Beverage World , 1990; 48th Annual Public Service Award, Advertising Council, 2001.

Publications: The Other Guy Blinked: How Pepsi Won the Cola Wars (with Jesse Kornbluth), 1986.

■ Roger Enrico spent almost his entire career working under PepsiCo, eventually serving as CEO of each of its three primary business divisions—beverages, foods, and restaurants—before becoming chairman and CEO of the entire corporation. During his stint in the 1980s as CEO of the beverage division, he guided Pepsi-Cola's rise to a share in the cola market that was essentially equal to that of its major competitor, Coca-Cola. When Enrico took over as chairman and CEO of Pepsi-Cola in 1996, he revitalized a slumping company through the initiation of a comprehensive restructuring campaign and a focus on entering new markets. Described by industry analysts as action oriented, Enrico is known as a corporate leader with vision who made his name as a maverick marketer.

Roger Enrico. © Robert Maass/Corbis.
Roger Enrico. ©
Robert Maass/Corbis


One of the first business lessons Enrico learned—and never forgot—came from his father, who was a maintenance man at an ore-smelting plant in Minnesota. The senior Enrico often commented to his son that he couldn't understand why management did not pay attention to ideas coming from the people who actually worked in the shop. According to Karen Benezra, writing in Brandweek , the future PepsiCo CEO's father told him, "They pay for my muscle and get my mind and brain for free" (October 7, 1996). Years later, the younger Enrico would carry that lesson with him as he reached beyond the boardroom to seek the advice of the people who had the closest relationships with the customers.

Enrico's second lesson came in the late 1960s when he was a navy supply officer in Vietnam during the war. Enrico marveled at his commanding officer's ability to combine resource-fulness and a penchant for not "going by the book." Throughout his subsequent career, Enrico would incorporate both traits into his management philosophy, sometimes raising the ire of his superiors but ultimately winning them over as he championed new ideas and products.


After he left the service, Enrico worked for a brief time for General Mills before joining PesiCo's Frito-Lay division as an associate brand manager for Funyuns, an onion-flavored snack. Enrico quickly established himself as a brash newcomer; some of his superiors even saw him as impudent. One production chief for Frito-Lay at the time, James H. O'Neal, recalled in a BusinessWeek article, "He was just more aggressive and more pushy than anybody else" (April 10, 2000).

Enrico was more than just aggressive, however. His flair for marketing was evident, and he obtained results. Following the traditional grooming of managers at PepsiCo, Enrico was introduced into the beverage business. In the late 1970s he served as vice president of Pepsi-Cola International's southern Latin America unit, and he later became senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Group.

In 1983 Enrico was named CEO of Pepsi-Cola. That same year, as part of an effort to revamp the soft drink's image and better compete with archrival Coca-Cola, Enrico sought a company spokesperson to whom the younger generation could relate. In what has become a part of marketing history, Enrico landed the pop singer Michael Jackson, who was the hottest and most popular recording artist at the time, to do a series of television commercials for Pepsi-Cola. The commercials garnered a wide range of media coverage for Pepsi and its new marketing slogan, "The Choice for a New Generation." Despite the success of the strategy, Enrico once again angered his superiors by neither informing them of his plan nor asking for their approval before implementing it.

Throughout the rest of the 1980s Enrico broadened Pepsi's profile and established the company as a strong competitor in many of the markets that Coca-Cola had traditionally dominated. Enrico's brash style once again came to the forefront when Coca-Cola announced a new version of its product. Enrico and many industry analysts interpreted the move as one in which Pepsi's rival was trying to market a soft drink that matched the taste of Pepsi. In response, Enrico placed an ad in many of America's major newspapers that, according to Greg W. Prince in Beverage World , started out this way: "It gives me great pleasure to offer each of you my heartiest congratulations. After 87 years of going at it eyeball to eyeball, the other guy just blinked" (January 1998). Enrico went on to write the book The Other Guy Blinked: How Pepsi Won the Cola Wars , with coauthor Jesse Kornbluth. In 1987 the Pepsi-Cola beverage division had increased its market share by 10 percentage points to 32 percent, just 0.8 percent behind Coca-Cola. That same year, Enrico was made CEO of PepsiCo Worldwide Beverages.


In 1990 Enrico had to temporarily relinquish the day-today operations of Pepsi's beverage business after suffering a mild heart attack on a dance floor in Turkey. According to Enrico and some of his colleagues, the episode had a profound effect on him, as he began to question his all-consuming desire to succeed. Some in the industry said that after the heart attack Enrico became more sensitive to people, rather than focusing solely on the bottom line.

Enrico was soon able to return to work, and in 1991 he became the chairman and CEO of Frito-Lay. He quickly set out to reorganize the division, cutting 1,800 jobs and instilling a new sense of competitiveness in the remaining employees. Once again, Enrico turned to his knack for attracting the attention of consumers and orchestrated several successful marketing blitzes, like "Doritos D-Day."

In 1994 Enrico was appointed chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Worldwide Restaurants, where he oversaw the PepsiCo divisions of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC. Enrico recognized that these entities were often competing with one another and had become obsessed with growth to the point of losing sight of operations and letting supply outstrip demand. Enrico's strategy was to shift from hypercompetitive divisiveness to a system of cooperation. Within two years, the restaurant-industry analyst Jennifer Solomon of Salomon Brothers was able to tell Steve Brooks in an interview for Restaurant Business , "The businesses really operated as autonomous units. Now they're operating as a restaurant division" (August 10, 1996). Enrico continued to make changes, his growth plan based on same-store sales boosts, margin increases, and additional franchising.

Although PepsiCo's restaurant businesses made a muchtouted recovery in 1995 with a $508 million increase in domestic revenues and a $94 million gain in operating profits, Enrico decided to take a sabbatical from the business side of PepsiCo and spent the next 14 months thinking about his future. During that time, he set up what he called a "war college," where he mentored and coached PepsiCo's most promising executives at his Cayman Islands retreat and Montana ranch.


It did not take long for PepsiCo to recruit Enrico back to a hands-on position within the company. The PepsiCo CEO D. Wayne Calloway was suffering from cancer, and the company wanted Enrico to take over the entire operation. Enrico, however, remained reluctant. He was quoted in BusinessWeek as saying, "It was sort of like running the same show over again, rather than moving on to the next act" (April 10, 2000).

Eventually, Enrico's sense of duty to the company won out, and he assumed the position of CEO at PepsiCo on April 1, 1996. When Enrico took over, the company was suffering from a sluggish restaurant business and growing troubles in competing with Coca-Cola in overseas markets. Returning to his roots, Enrico immediately made a marketing coup by landing the coveted George Lucas franchise in a multiyear promotional alliance designed to begin with the February 1997 rerelease of the original Star Wars science-fiction movie, which was to be followed by the re-releases of the remaining two movies in the trilogy. As noted by Karen Benezra in Brandweek , the move was estimated to have a $2 billion promotional value and showed Enrico's strong belief that it was important to "get some points on the board early" (October 7, 1996).

Enrico proceeded to introduce cost-cutting and resourcesharing measures to the company's operations. He initiated a spin-off of PepsiCo's restaurant group of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC into Tricon Global Restaurants, a move that analysts saw as a perfect fit with the company's focus on chips and soda. As described by George W. Prince in Beverage World , Enrico explained his move in a letter to PepsiCo shareholders, "The reason for the spin-off is focus. And the best performing companies are those that devote all their energy to what they do best" (January 1998).

In 1998 Enrico acquired the fruit-drink company Tropicana to further broaden PepsiCo's soft-drink lineup. Rather than continuing to stress direct competition with Coca-Cola in established markets, he refocused the company's efforts on emphasizing growth in emerging markets like China and Russia. In December 2000 Enrico announced PepsiCo's acquisition of Quaker Oats for $13.4 billion in stock, once again beating out rival Coca-Cola, which was also vying for the company. Later adding the popular Gatorade to its fleet of noncarbonated beverages gave PepsiCo the dominant brand in the $2.5 billion sports-drink category.

Industry analysts generally applauded Enrico's restructuring and acquisition efforts at PepsiCo. In 1999 the company met or exceeded expectations on earnings and profit margins in each quarter. By early 2001 Enrico's management efforts had helped boost PepsiCo stock by 36 percent. In the spring of 2001 Enrico stepped down as CEO and became one of two vice chairmen on PepsiCo's board.


Described by market analysts as a deadly earnest competitor, Enrico's deal-making prowess and marketing savvy were the foundations of his success. After landing Michael Jackson as a Pepsi spokesperson and making various promotional deals involving blockbuster movies as well as the Internet company Yahoo!, he established a reputation as a manager who was willing to make bold and dramatic marketing deals.

Although once noted for his flamboyance and swaggering management style, Enrico eventually developed a more personal and less arrogant approach to management, which in part involved giving credit to others in the company for its success. Part of this change was reflected in his dedication to teaching up-and-coming PepsiCo executives through leadership programs. According to analysts, Enrico believed teaching to be a vital aspect of the CEO's job, an aspect that gave him the chance to shape the executives that would prove to be the corporation's most important contributors. Enrico was noted for his ability to communicate well with investors and with the media. In an interview with George Prince for Beverage World , James Lee Jr., the chairman of Buffalo Rock (a privately owned Pepsi bottling company), summed up Enrico's managerial attributes this way: "He's a trench fighter. He's got plenty of guts. He's got flexibility and he moves with speed. He's not a committee man" (January 1998).


In February 2003 Enrico stepped down from PepsiCo's board of directors. Nevertheless, he continued to mentor PepsiCo executives at annual gatherings at his Montana ranch. He also taught business leadership courses and seminars at Yale School of Management and at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business. Enrico discussed both business and personal ethics with students, recommending that they envision how they wanted to be regarded by their peers and those who worked for them. With respect to the possibility of reentering the business world, Enrico told Patricia Sellers for an interview in Fortune , "I've done that. Now I have the opportunity to do other things" (November 18, 2002).

See also entries on PepsiCo, Inc. and Frito-Lay Company in International Directory of Company Histories .

sources for further information

Benezra, Karen, "Roger Enrico," Brandweek , October 7, 1996, p. S56.

Brooks, Steve, "The Artful Roger: What Will Enrico Do with PepsiCo's Restaurants?" Restaurant Business , August 10, 1996, p. 58.

"Leadership Lessons from Roger Enrico," BusinessWeek Online , .

"Pepsi Regeneration: Roger Enrico Looks to Snack Foods to Put Some Pop in His Stock," Money , March 1, 2000, p. 48.

"Pepsico's New Formula," BusinessWeek , April 10, 2000, p. 172.

Prince, Greg W., "PepsiCo-Star," Beverage World , January 1998, p. 113.

Sellers, Patricia, "Gone Fishin'?" Fortune , November 18, 2002, p. 156.

—David Petechuk

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