PepsiCo Inc., the world's second-largest soft-drink maker, hired former U.S. deputy attorney general Larry D. Thompson to be general counsel as it faces civil charges.
Thompson, 58, will assume the job in October, sharing duties for a few months with David R. Andrews, 62, who retires in February, PepsiCo said. He will also be a senior vice president.
President Bush named Thompson in 2002 to lead the administration's corporate fraud task force, including its Enron Corp. investigation. PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., said in April that the Securities and Exchange Commission may bring charges against two divisions for allegedly assisting improper accounting at Kmart Corp.
A Brookings Institution senior fellow, Thompson has worked at the Atlanta law firm King & Spalding, which represents No. 1 soft-drink maker Coca-Cola Co. Thompson also is a board member of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc., whose former chairman, Ronald W. Allen, serves on Coca-Cola's board.
Coca-Cola has been searching for a general counsel since Deval L. Patrick announced plans to resign in April. In an interview Thompson declined to say whether he had met with Coca-Cola officials about the opening.
The PepsiCo job is "a wonderful opportunity with significant challenges," he said. "Coca-Cola is a fine company and I am absolutely certain they will find a top-notch lawyer to serve as their general counsel."
Shares of PepsiCo fell 11 cents to close at $49.88 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have risen more than 7 percent this year.