Former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Inc.; Former Executive Chairman of DreamWorks
Over the course of 30+ years at PepsiCo, Roger Enrico combined a piercingly sharp business mind with a flair for the dramatic. He had the ability to instantly get to the heart of the matter and communicate in a way that was understandable and memorable.
Originally from Minnesota, Roger attended Babson College on a scholarship, and became the first in his family to graduate from college. After graduation he joined General Mills for a year before joining the Navy ROTC program and was then deployed to Vietnam as a supply officer. Following his service, he returned to General Mills. His success quickly attracted the attention of Frito-Lay and he was appointed brand manager for Funyuns. He went on to lead PepsiCo’s regional operations in Japan and Brazil and became chief executive of Pepsi-Cola USA at the unprecedented age of 38.
Roger immediately launched the “Cola Wars” by signing a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with Michael Jackson. The campaign included Lionel Ritchie, Madonna, and Michael J. Fox and successfully grew Pepsi’s market share. This success led Coca-Cola to change its formula. Roger famously said on the day that Coca-Cola announced the change: “After 87 years of going at it eyeball to eyeball, the other guy just blinked.” Seventy-nine days later, Coca-Cola revived its old formula in response to customer outcry.
After being named Chief Executive and Chairman of PepsiCo in 1996, Roger spun off the restaurant division, composed of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut chains, as an independent public company. He oversaw PepsiCo’s acquisition of Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade.
At PepsiCo, Roger devoted considerable time to mentoring talent by creating a Leadership Development program and the first frontline recognition program which celebrates hundreds of plant workers and route drivers from around the world. He gave generously to employees and their children through scholarships and other opportunities.
Following his PepsiCo retirement in 2003, Roger was named Chairman for DreamWorks Animation. Roger also served as a board member of the National Geographic Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the American Film Institute.
For more than three decades, the generous philanthropy of Roger Enrico inspired the Babson Community. To date, Roger and Rosemary have supported 35 students through the Roger and Rosemary Enrico Scholarship, which was established to provide full-tuition, need-based scholarships for economically disadvantaged students from Dallas Public Schools. The scholarship is life-changing for the recipients.
In 2015, Roger was awarded The Babson Medal—the highest honor Babson bestows on an individual for outstanding achievement and commitment to the College. It is presented to a dedicated graduate or friend for distinguished service to the community and College.
Roger also supported Babson Athletics through The PepsiCo Pavilion. The Pavilion serves as an indoor practice facility for Babson's varsity teams, as well as numerous intramural and recreational activities. It will be rededicated “The PepsiCo Enrico Pavilion” on November 15, 2018.
Roger is survived by his wife, Rosemary, his son and daughter-in-law, Aaron and Catie, and three grandchildren, Daniel, Gisele, and Joseph.