Corporate Counsel News: Smith to Pepsi, Thompson to UGA

Maura Abeln Smith, International Paper Co.'s GC, whom we profiled in the January 2010 issue of Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition, has been selected to succeed Larry Thompson, whom we profiled in the December 2008 of Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition, as general counsel of PepsiCo Inc.

Thompson is leaving PepsiCo this May after seven years to take a teaching position at The University of Georgia Law School, where he taught for several months in 2003.

USCC08_03_Cover.pngIn a statement, Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, said, "Larry leaves an indelible mark on PepsiCo. His deep knowledge of the law and impeccable personal integrity have contributed to our success as a company and made him a trusted business advisor to me and the entire PepsiCo Board of Directors."

His replacement, Smith, who joined International Paper in 2003, brings nearly three decades of experience to her new role. She became one of the first female general counsels at General Electric Co., at age 35, leading its plastics division. Smith went on to join Owens Corning as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, where she stayed for eight years before moving to International Paper. Of that change, Smith told us, "I had hoped to do something more, see if I could run a company or have a bigger department or a bigger opportunity."

Now she has another. "In addition to her vast understanding of complex legal and regulatory issues, Maura also brings a unique combination of sharp business intellect, strong leadership skills and uncompromising ethical standards to the role," Nooyi said in the statement. "She has built a record of distinction throughout her career and PepsiCo will benefit from her counsel."

--Nyssa Gesch