Haslam Family Hands Off Reins at Pilot Flying J

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Haslam Family Hands Off Reins at Pilot Flying J


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Pilot Flying J is set for leadership change as Jimmy Haslam moves to chairman and John Compton, former PepsiCo president, is named CEO of the travel center company.

Haslam has served as CEO of Pilot since 1994. He will assume the role of chairman of Pilot Flying J and Maxum Petroleum, and his father, Jim Haslam, who founded the company with one gas station in Gate City, Va. in 1958, will be titled founder and chairman emeritus.

"We are tremendously excited to have an individual with John's intelligence, character and financial acumen join our Pilot Flying J team," said Jimmy Haslam. "He will bring tremendous management skills which will enable Pilot Flying J to continue the rapid growth it has enjoyed over the last decade."

Compton, native of Tennessee, is 1983 graduate of the University of Tennessee. Upon graduating from college, he began his PepsiCo career working at a Frito-Lay plant in Pulaski, Tenn. He held numerous leadership positions at Frito-Lay, ascending to vice chairman and president of its salty snacks division. He later became chief executive officer of Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade based in Chicago and in March 2012, was named president of PepsiCo, where he guided PepsiCo's global business units and functions. PepsiCo, with revenues exceeding $66 billion is the second largest food and beverage company in the world.

He has been actively involved in the University of Tennessee serving the Business School Dean's Advisory Board for the past 12 years. The College of Business named him a Distinguished Alumni in 2010. One year later, the University gave him its highest alumni honor by naming him Distinguished Alumnus. He and his wife, Cindy, were leaders in the Campaign for Tennessee. Compton is a member of the board of directors of First Horizon Corp. - Tennessee's largest banking institution.

"I am honored to have been extended the trust of the Haslam family. I have watched Pilot Flying J succeed for many years and have seen first-hand their strategic acuity and operational excellence," Compton said. "My wife Cindy and our children Kendall, Caroline and Jack are thrilled to be coming to Knoxville. And, I am forever grateful to PepsiCo. I have had the great fortune of learning from world-class teams and I look forward to serving the associates and customers of Pilot Flying J."

Pilot Flying J is a privately held company based in Knoxville, Tenn. Pilot TravelCenters LLC and Flying J Inc. completed a merger on June 30, 2010 to form the existing Pilot Flying J. Pilot Flying J and its recently acquired Maxum Petroleum have annual sales in excess of $30 billion. The combined companies employ more than 25,000 people and conduct business in 44 states in the United States as well as six provinces in Canada. Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers and truck stops in North America, and Maxum Petroleum is the largest supplier of diesel fuel to drilling rigs and hydraulic fracturing units in the United States.

"We are sad to see John leave PespiCo," said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. "John joined PepsiCo as a 21-year old at the Pulaski, Tenn. Frito-Lay facility, and since that day has made countless positive contributions to this company. He is a humble and collaborative leader who cares deeply about both the business and developing talent. John is also passionate about his family, and what is particularly impressive about his decision is that he is choosing what is right for him and his family. I have enjoyed a long friendship with John and will miss him. I'm confident John will enjoy great future success, and we wish him all the best as he takes this unique opportunity to return to his native Tennessee."

Bonnie Herzog, managing director, beverage, tobacco and consumer research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, said Compton's move came a surprise "we we considered [Compton] to be one of the frontrunners to succeed Indra Nooyi as CEO, when she eventually steps down."

In the wake of Compton's resignation from PepsiCo, the company has named PepsiCo Europe CEO Zein Abdalla as president, PepsiCo. In addition, PepsiCo executive Enderson Guimaraes has been named CEO of PepsiCo Europe, succeeding Abdalla.

In his new role as president, Abdalla will oversee PepsiCo's global category groups (Global Beverages, Global Snacks and Global Nutrition), Global Operations (IT, Global Procurement, Supply Chain and Productivity), Global Marketing Services and Corporate Strategy. Working with the geographic business units, Abdalla's team will drive innovation and brand building while significantly reducing the overall cost structure of the company.

"We think this move clearly positions [Abdalla] as a leading candidate to succeed [Nooyi]," Herzog noted. "Furthermore, it seems to suggest a further shift away from U.S./beverage-centric leadership."

Guimaraes currently serves as president of PepsiCo's Global Nutrition Group.