Pepsi hires a veteran to head e-commerce

September 22, 2015 03:37 PM

Global food and beverage manufacturer PepsiCo. has a new head of e-commerce, and he’s one of the experienced Internet executives responsible for helping Wal-Mart Stores Inc. become a $12.1 billion global e-retailer. 

PepsiCo, which owns such well-known food and beverage brands as Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana, has hired Gibu Thomas, former senior vice president of mobile and digital strategy, as Pepsi’s general manager of e-commerce.

PepsiCo is keeping details of Thomas’s hiring and future e-commerce plans low-key. “We are not ready to talk about anything else at this time,” a Pepsi spokesman says. 

But Thomas has a track record of building a complex business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce operation with an emphasis on mobile commerce and social media. At Thomas oversaw all mobile commerce and social media operations, including @WalMartLabs, its e-commerce innovation arm. Prior to serving as senior vice president of mobile and digital strategy Thomas served as head of strategy for Wal-Mart’s global e-commerce group and was formerly CEO and co-founder of SugarSync Inc. a cloud file sharing, file sync and online backup service company. 

PepsiCo does have bigger plans in store for e-commerce. “E-commerce is shaping up to be the next great revolution in the food and beverage industry,” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi told attendees at the company’s annual meeting in May. In July PepsiCo promoted executive vice president and chief financial officer Hugh Johnston to vice chairman where his duties will include overseeing PepsiCo's global e-commerce organization.

“The expansion of Johnston's responsibilities comes as PepsiCo continues to pre-emptively address global trends that are reshaping the food and beverage industry,” the company says. “One such trend is the rise of the digitally connected consumer and the emergence of e-commerce as a new distribution channel. Putting the company's information technology and e-commerce organizations under the oversight of a vice chairman will accelerate new solutions and further strengthen PepsiCo's digital technology capabilities.”

PepsiCo had revenue of $66.68 billion in 2014 and profits of $2.19 billion.




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