Pepsi’s CMO Prepares to Exit

NEW YORK Pepsi-Cola North America svp, CMO Cie Nicholson is leaving the company.

Nicholson, who is perhaps best known for the successful launch of Mountain Dew Code Red in 2001, has served as the soda giant’s marketing chief since November 2005.

A Pepsi representative confirmed the pending departure. A replacement has not been named. “We’re still working it out,” said the 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 rollout 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.