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Dallas' Roger Enrico, Who Led Pepsi During '80s Cola Wars, Dies At 71

Then Pepsi CEO Roger Enrico addresses reporters about the soft drink giant's return to the Venezuelan market in this file photo from 1996.

The North Texan who led Pepsi during the 1980s Cola Wars has died at age 71.

Roger Enrico died during a snorkeling vacation in the Cayman Islands. He was a member of KERA’s board of directors and served on a number of North Texas arts boards.

Enrico made his name in the business world by transforming Pepsi. He modernized the brand to make it more competitive with Coca-Cola. At one point, he was dubbed the Cola King.

His career with PepsiCo started in 1971, when he got a job at Frito Lay as a brand manager for Funyuns. In the early 1990s, he was CEO of the Plano-based Frito Lay. After retiring, he became chairman of DreamWorks Animation.

Richard Freling was president of the Dallas Symphony Association and recruited Enrico to join the Board of Directors. They became close friends.

“He combined something that I thought was different than a lot of corporate CEOs,” Freling told KERA. “He was approachable, he was warm, he was reachable to everybody. He wasn’t aloof; he wasn’t filled with himself. He was a very decent, warm, generous man.”