Kendall, Donald M.

Kendall, Donald M. (McIntosh)

(1921–  ) food products executive; born in Sequim, Wash. He distinguished himself as a bomber pilot in the Pacific in World War II and after the war became a New York City salesman for Pepsi-Cola. He rapidly rose in the corporate sales management hierarchy. As president of Pepsi-Cola International (1953–63) he tripled overseas sales and caused a sensation by arranging for Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev to be photographed drinking Pepsi (1959). Under his aggressive and often ruthless leadership as president and CEO of the U.S. parent company (1963), PepsiCo initiated its famous "Pepsi Generation" (1964) and "Pepsi Challenge" (1975) advertising campaigns, both greatly increasing its sales to challenge those of archrival Coca Cola. The firm's acquisitions (Frito-Lay, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken) made it the country's largest snack/fast food company and 29th largest industrial corporation. Pepsi became the first U.S. consumer goods manufacturer to set up Soviet production operations (1974).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.