Nicholson Steps Down as Pepsi CMO

Pepsi-Cola North America svp/CMO Cie Nicholson has resigned, Brandweek has learned. Nicholson, who is perhaps best known for the successful launch of Mountain Dew Code Red in 2001, has served as soda giant’s marketing chief since November 2005. She will leave at the end of the month.

Nicholson told Brandweek,  “I’ve been working for 20 years. I’m ready to take some time off. I’m getting ready to go to South Africa to recharge my batteries.”

A replacement has not been named. “We’re still working it out,” said a Pepsi rep. “It was her decision. She decided to leave to pursue travel and spend time with her family.”

Nicholson oversees advertising, media, brand development, promotional activities, sports and grassroots marketing for PCNA’s carbonated soft drinks and non-carbonated beverages.

Prior to assuming the role, Nicholson had served as vp-non-carbonated beverages as well as vp-carbonated soft drink flavors. She is credited with spearheading the national roll out of Sierra Mist and launch of Code Red which spurred the flavored soda wars to follow. Nicholson was a Brandweek Marketer of the Year in 2002.

Nicholson joined PCNA in 1997 as director of innovation. Before joining Pepsi she helped relaunch Winston cigarettes at R.J. Reynolds.