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Product diversity ensures growth, PepsiCo's new chief executive says



Published: Tue, October 24, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo Inc.'s new chief executive, Indra Nooyi, said on Monday the snack food and beverage company's diverse portfolio would enable it to extend its growth and that she did not see a need for any drastic shift in strategy.

Nooyi spoke to analysts and investors in her first public address about the company's strategy since she took over as CEO on Oct. 1, replacing Steve Reinemund and becoming one of the most prominent female CEOs in corporate America.

She told the audience not to expect drastic changes in strategy as she had been closely involved in formulating the plans over the past five years. PepsiCo includes the Frito-Lay snacks business, Quaker foods and Pepsi beverages, the second biggest U.S. soft drink maker after The Coca-Cola Co.

"I realize when most companies change CEOs, there can be a fair amount of change and direction in strategy. That's not going to be the case today," Nooyi said.

She said over time the company would adjust as circumstances demanded it. The strength of PepsiCo's portfolio, she said, is built on developing more products for increasingly health-conscious consumers.

The company has diversified beyond its flagship cola products, which have been declining slightly, toward non-carbonated beverages such as Gatorade, Lipton ready-to-drink teas, Aquafina bottled water and its recently acquired Izze sparkling juice drinks.

Among the new products company executives discussed were Tava, a sparkling drink fortified with vitamins and the mineral chromium; Flat Earth fruit-and-vegetable chips, and Gatorade AM, designed for people who work out in the morning.




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