SOUTH AFRICA – American multinational food and beverage corporation, PepsiCo has appointed Riaan Heyl as the new chief executive officer of its South African unit, PepsiCo South Africa, effective 1 May 2023.

Heyl, a Chartered Accountant by training, replaces Tertius Carstens, who is retiring after 29 years with the company.

He steps into the Chief Executive Officer position after serving as PepsiCo’s Chief Operating Officer in South Africa since January 2023.

Heyl has had a rewarding career that included senior leadership roles in finance and general management.

In his career portfolio, Heyl led the Essential Foods portfolio within Pioneer Foods from 2017, and following PepsiCo’s acquisition of Pioneer Foods, in 2020, took on the role of Vice President Go to Market and Commercial Integration across the South African portfolio.  

Eugene Willemsen, PepsiCo’s Chief Executive Officer for Africa, Middle East, and South Asia (AMESA) commented: “Through a long illustrious career with Pioneer Foods, Riaan has proven himself to be an outstanding leader. He has been at the forefront of building one PepsiCo in South Africa commercially and culturally.”

With the appointment, Heyl said he is ready to build on what has already been achieved and is passionate about the company’s trajectory for growth where shared value, sustainability, people, and consumers are at the center.

“I am excited about the future – notwithstanding the current economic environment and all the challenges we face in South Africa. I truly believe we have iconic brands and the best people to ensure our continued success as we become faster, stronger, and better at delivering more smiles with every sip and every bite,” he added.

In South Africa, PepsiCo’s brand portfolio includes Weet-Bix, Simba, Lay’s, Doritos, Liqui Fruit, Sasko, White Star, and Spekko, amongst other brands.

At the end of last year, PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa integrated a new production line at its Weet-Bix facility in Atlantis, South Africa, to boost production capacity.

A R300 million cash injection funded the new line as part of the public interest commitments the company made at the time of the acquisition of Pioneer Foods.

The new production line included an expanded silo capacity to store 500 tons of wheat to cater to the increased production, which also demanded 14 additional jobs across four shifts.

“PepsiCo’s decision to invest in this new production line was a result of a specific focus to increase production as consumer trends indicate a demand for healthy, convenient, minimally processed, and varied food products. Technology is enhancing the efficiency and safety of production processes”, said Hopewell Hlophe, Manufacturing plant manager at the Weet-Bix facility at the time of inauguration.

An additional R60 million was also spent on upgrading the company’s Malmesbury Mill which is the only source of the specific cleaned wheat needed to produce Weet-Bix. The Mill’s expansion would enable wheat supply for several years and ensure easier process control in the Weet-Bix cooking process.

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