Maura Abeln Smith Named General Counsel of PepsiCo

Smith to Serve as Vice President of Government Affairs, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary at PepsiCo
Brian Zabcik

Women have made a lot of progress in the legal and corporate worlds, Maura Abeln Smith says, but they're still having trouble getting into the top jobs. That hasn't been a problem for Smith herself. Last month, she became the new legal chief at PepsiCo, Inc., her fourth GC gig in two decades. But Smith says she's been successful because she's had some extraordinary opportunities—key among them, being one of the first women to win a Rhodes Scholarship.

Smith, 55, became executive vice president of government affairs, general counsel, and corporate secretary at PepsiCo on May 5. She oversees a legal and government affairs department with more than 500 employees, including 165 lawyers worldwide. Larry Thompson, the previous general counsel at the Purchase, New York-based company, retired to take a teaching position at the University of Georgia Law School.

Smith says she initially didn't intend to become a lawyer. She majored in economics.

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