Roger Enrico Cause of Death: The PepsiCo CEO Who Won the Cola Wars

Roger Enrico was a successful and influential businessman who led PepsiCo as its CEO and chairman from 1996 to 2001. He was known for his innovative and aggressive marketing strategies that challenged Coca-Cola in the 1980s and 1990s, earning him the nickname “the soda pop general”. He was also a philanthropist and a supporter of the arts and the environment. But how did Roger Enrico die? What was the cause of his death at the age of 71?

Roger Enrico’s Life and Career

Roger Enrico was born on November 11, 1944, in Chisholm, Minnesota, to Italian immigrants. His father was a foreman at an iron-ore processing plant, and his mother was a homemaker. He grew up in a poor and rural area, where he learned to work hard and be resourceful. He graduated from Babson College in 1965, where he studied business administration. He then joined the Navy and served in Vietnam.

Enrico started his career at General Mills, where he worked as a brand manager for Wheaties. He then joined PepsiCo in 1971, where he rose through the ranks and held various positions, such as brand manager for Cheetos and Fritos, head of operations in Japan and South America, and CEO of Pepsi-Cola USA. He was responsible for launching new products, such as Diet Pepsi and Caffeine-Free Pepsi, and signing celebrity endorsers, such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Lionel Richie. He also wrote a book about his experience, titled “The Other Guy Blinked: How Pepsi Won the Cola Wars”.

Enrico became the CEO and chairman of PepsiCo in 1996, where he oversaw the company’s global operations and diversified businesses, including Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and KFC. He also initiated a spin-off of the restaurant division, which became Yum! Brands, and a merger with the bottling company, which became Pepsi Bottling Group. He retired from PepsiCo in 2001, after 30 years of service.

Enrico was also involved in other ventures, such as serving as the chairman of DreamWorks Animation from 2004 to 2012, and being on the board of directors of several organizations, such as the National Geographic Society, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the American Film Institute. He was a generous donor to various causes, such as education, health, and the arts. He also supported the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, a charity founded by his friend and former PepsiCo employee, Ronnie James Dio, the legendary rock singer.

Roger Enrico’s Death and Legacy

Roger Enrico died on June 1, 2016, while snorkeling in the Cayman Islands, where he had a home. the cause of death of Roger Enrico was a myocardial infarction, or a heart attack, followed by seawater drowning. He had a history of heart problems, having suffered a heart attack in 1990 and two strokes in 2010 and 2014. He was survived by his wife, Rosemary, and his son, Aaron.

Enrico’s death was mourned by many people, especially his former colleagues and competitors at PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, who praised him for his leadership, creativity, and vision. He was described as “a true legend of the company and the industry” by Indra Nooyi, the then-CEO of PepsiCo, and “a great competitor and a great friend” by Muhtar Kent, the then-CEO of Coca-Cola. He was also honored by celebrities, such as Eva Longoria, who directed a film about Richard Montañez, the inventor of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, who credited Enrico for his success. Enrico was portrayed by Tony Shalhoub in the film, which was released in 2023.

Roger Enrico’s legacy lives on in his achievements and contributions to the business world, the entertainment industry, and the society at large. He was a visionary and a trailblazer who transformed PepsiCo into a global powerhouse and a cultural icon. He was also a mentor and a role model who inspired and empowered many people to pursue their dreams and make a difference. He was a legend in his own time.