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Latino Trailblazer

Grace Puma Whiteford

  • Gender: Female
  • Major: Business Administration and Economics
  • University: Illinois Benedictine University
  • Organization: PepsiCo Inc.
  • Position Title: Executive Vice President, Global Operations

Grace Whiteford is the highest ranking Latina at PepsiCo, and one of the highest-ranked chief procurement officers in the world. She serves as Pepsico’s Executive Vice President, Global Operations leading the company’s Global Operations Center of Excellence, Global Procurement, Concentrate Operations, Safety and Security and Advanced Manufacturing Systems.

She joined the company in 2010 and is, according to her company biography, well regarded as a strategist and change agent who finds the best possible solutions to business challenges and who is also highly valued for her ability to innovate and build strong relationships.

Prior to joining PepsiCo Inc., she was the Senior Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer at United Airlines. During the jet fuel crises in 2008, she and her team delivered significant savings across the value chain, while handling risk management. She has also held leadership positions in several other Fortune 500 companies, including Motorola, Inc., The Gillette Company, Kraft Foods, and Fuji.

Grace attended Illinois Benedictine University, where she graduated with a BA in Business Administration and Economics.

She has been widely recognized for her accomplishments. Most recently, the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) recognized Grace as one of the Most Powerful Latinas. Latino Leaders Magazine named her as one of the “Top 25 Latinas in Corporate America.” In 2016, she was named one of the “Top 10 Executives of the Year” by Latina Style magazine and was nominated by Minority Business News (MBN) USA magazine for the 2015 Chief Purchasing Officer award, which recognizes leaders for driving supply chain minority business development for a decade or more. In 2013, she was ranked as the world’s #4 Chief Procurement Officer out of 5,000 global CPOs across all industries, by global executive search firm ExecRank.

She has served on a number of boards, including those of the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, the Institute for Supply Managers, the Marietta Corporation, and William-Sonoma, Inc.