In the Brussels-based role, Kehoe’s tasks will include leading the company’s efforts to comply with the EU food labelling directive as well as representing it in the ongoing debate on obesity in the UK.
‘My role is to drive all the company’s public policies and public affairs initiatives across all European markets,’ said Kehoe.
He takes up the post on 1 March and will report to the company’s US-based worldwide head of government relations, David Wright.
The creation of the post comes as food firms face increasing pressure to take measures to stem the obesity problem in western societies.
PepsiCo’s Walkers crisps brand – which has been singled out for the most criticism among its portfolio – is expected to start printing nutritional advice on crisp packets in the UK, encouraging parents to ensure their children have a balanced diet with sufficient portions of fruit and vegetables.
‘Part of my challenge will be to promote what PepsiCo is doing to change its food portfolio,’ said Kehoe. ‘The company is trying to put a lot of emphasis on foods that are really good for you. The food agenda is a lot bigger than obesity – it’s about labelling, nutritional supplements and product approvals as well.’
Kehoe’s move sees him return to Brussels after an eight-year stint there earlier in his career.
He joined public affairs agency APCO nearly two years ago from the Washington DC office of Weber Shandwick/BSMG. Prior to that he was managing director of Adamson/BSMG and deputy director of BAe Brussels.
His exit comes hard on the heels of APCO UK director of PA and government relations Simon Crine’s departure to communications super-regulator Ofcom as director for England (PRWeek, 23 January).
APCO has started the hunt for Kehoe’s successor.
PepsiCo’s portfolio encompasses global brands such as Pepsi, Tropicana, Walkers, Wotsits, Frito-Lay and Gatorade.