Ex-HJ Heinz CEO, advisory partner to activist investor Nelson Peltz, elected to PepsiCo board

PURCHASE, N.Y. – PepsiCo says that an advisory partner to activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management will join the beverage and snack food company’s board in March.

Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo said Friday that its board has elected William R. Johnson, a former chairman and CEO of H.J. Heinz, to a director seat, effective March 23.

Peltz, who recommended Johnson for election to PepsiCo’s board, praised the move in a joint statement with the company.

Peltz has called for PepsiCo Inc. to separate its struggling drinks division from its snacks unit.

The company has rejected that call, arguing its current structure maximizes value for shareholders.

Representatives for PepsiCo and Trian declined to comment on whether Johnson’s election to the PepsiCo board means Peltz will no longer press for a breakup of PepsiCo’s businesses.