SOUTH AFRICA – The New York headquartered food and beverage giant, PepsiCo has appointed Pioneer Foods boss Tertius Carstens as its sub-Saharan Africa chief executive to assume the position immediately.

The sub-Saharan Africa headquarters will be based in South Africa, which the company plans to leverage to expand and drive profitable growth across the region, an integral part of fulfilling PepsiCo’s ambition to become Africa’s leading food and beverage company.

The appointment comes after the Competition Tribunal of South Africa gave the US giant a go-ahead to acquire the South African packaged goods company for US$1.7 billion (R31bn) in March making it one of the group’s biggest investments outside of the US.

The acquisition was followed by Pioneer Foods which owns Weet-Bix, Liqui Fruit, Ceres, Sasko, Safari, Spekko and White Star delisting from the JSE on March 24.

Eugene Willemsen, chief executive of PepsiCo Africa, Middle East and South Asia (Amesa), said Carstens was qualified and experienced to lead the region as he had a strong track record in the fast-moving consumer goods sector and African markets.

“His appointment is a major step in enabling the integration of Pioneer Foods into PepsiCo and the successful execution of our Sub-Saharan African growth strategy,” Willemsen said.

In addition to that Carstens would join the PepsiCo Amesa executive committee.

He will be supported by four business unit leaders, with combined food and beverage industry experience of more than 100 years, each of whom will be responsible for Essential Foods, Groceries, South Africa Snacks and sub-Saharan Africa Foods and Beverages respectively.

An engineer by qualification, Carstens was appointed as Pioneer Foods CEO and executive director in 2017.

He has 25 years of experience and a proven track record in the FMCG industry and the African market, and he has been instrumental in the development of the Group’s Joint Ventures which span the African continent.

Commenting on his appointment, Carstens explained that the current Covid-19 pandemic has made clear and accelerated the need for decisive and agile decision making, responsiveness and coordination.

“We believe this will be best served by a single leadership team across the Pioneer Foods, Simba and SSA Food and Beverage businesses, and together we’re looking forward to overcoming the immediate challenges and positioning the business for growth.”