PepsiCo selects Cognizant CPO to head up its HR efforts

PepsiCo has named Becky Schmitt as its new incoming CHRO, replacing Ronald Schellekens who will be retiring this fall, the company recently announced.

Becky Schmitt will become PepsiCo's new CHRO in October, taking over for Ronald Schellekens.
Becky Schmitt

Schmitt will assume her new duties as PepsiCo’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer effective Oct. 1 and report to chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta.

PepsiCo’s incoming CHRO has been chief people officer for three years at IT consulting and services firm Cognizant.

Schmitt also previously was vice president and chief people officer at Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Inc. and has held various HR executive roles at Walmart. Schmitt also spent 21 years at Accenture in a variety of senior HR roles across the globe.

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PepsiCo is naming Schmitt CHRO as it is ramping up its efforts to reach out to women to increase its workforce. Last month, the beverage giant rolled out a mobile recruiting campaign titled “She is PepsiCo,” which features female frontline workers on the side of its beverage trucks and shares women’s stories in advertisements and digital posts.

See also: With ‘She is PepsiCo,’ the beverage giant gives new meaning to ‘mobile recruiting’

In her new role, Schmitt will be stepping into the shoes held by Schellekens. He rejoined PepsiCo in 2018 as CHRO and played a key role in raising the bar on talent and diversity, enhancing the company as one of the top places to work worldwide and assisting in optimizing PepsiCo’s operating model, the company stated.

Ronald Schellekens enhanced PepsiCo’s top-workplace reputation worldwide

Ronald Schellekens, outgoing CHRO at PepsiCo.
Ronald Schellekens

During Schellekens’ tenure, PepsiCo was awarded the coveted Global Top Employer status from the Netherlands-based Top Employers Institute in 2021. Each year, the organization evaluates the HR practices and programs of companies around the world.

“Ronald’s leadership has been instrumental in progressing how we continue to build a human-centric organization, spearheading The PepsiCo Way to unify our culture, as well as continuously optimizing our operating model to enable our long-term success,” Laguarta said in a statement.

Prior to rejoining PepsiCo in 2018, Schellekens had worked for the beverage company from 1994-2003 as an SVP of human resources.

“When I rejoined PepsiCo four and a half years ago, I could not have imagined the journey we would embark on together, from a pandemic and social unrest to unprecedented growth of our business and accelerated transformation and digitization,” Schellekens said in a statement. 

In 2020, PepsiCo made Schellekens among the top 25 highest-paid HR executives.

Dawn Kawamoto, Human Resource Executive
Dawn Kawamoto
Dawn Kawamoto is HR Editor of Human Resource Executive. She is an award-winning journalist who has covered technology business news for such publications as CNET and has covered the HR and careers industry for such organizations as Dice and Built In prior to joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected] and below on social media.