Roger Enrico, Former Chairman of DreamWorks Animation, Dies at 71

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Roger Enrico

Enrico also was chief of PepsiCo during the "cola wars" in the '80s.

Roger Enrico, who enlisted celebrities like Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie and Janet Jackson to challenge Coca-Cola when he was CEO of PepsiCo before joining DreamWorks Animation's board of directors, died Thursday. He was 71.

Enrico was PepsiCo's CEO from 1996-2001 and joined DWA the same year he left the beverage and snack food company. He became DWA's board chairman in 2004, the year the studio behind Shrek and Kung Fu Panda went public, and he left in 2012, replaced by Mellody Hobson

Prior to running the parent company, Enrico was CEO of the Pepsi soda-pop brand starting in 1983, where he is credited with signing Michael Jackson and his brothers for a series of TV commercials. "The choice for a new generation" campaign was a huge hit, though it's probably best remembered today for a pyrotechnics accident during a commercial shoot that set the superstar singer's hair on fire and caused second-degree burns to his head.

"The entire DreamWorks family is deeply saddened by the loss of our former chairman," said DWA chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.

"Roger was a leader in every sense of the word, owning a rare combination of courage, tenacity, compassion and creativity," he continued. "His career at PepsiCo is the stuff of legends, and as our chairman he was an invaluable voice during a pivotal time in the growth and evolution of our company. I am eternally grateful for his leadership, his counsel and, most of all, his friendship."

Enrico also was a former board member of the American Film Institute, the National Geographic Society, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Solar Electric Light Fund.

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