Former Greenevillian John Compton, who over a period of relatively few years rose to the presidency of one of the world's largest publicly-held corporations -- PepsiCo -- has decided to return to East Tennessee.
Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J, one of the largest privately-held companies in the nation, announced Tuesday that Compton will assume the role of chief executive officer for the company, which is owned by the widely-known Haslam family.
The Compton family will be relocating to the Knoxville area soon, according to a news release from Pilot Flying J.
Jimmy Haslam, son of company founder Jim Haslam and brother of Gov. Bill Haslam, has served as CEO of Pilot since 1994.
He will assume the role of chairman of the company, the release stated, and his father, Jim Haslam, who founded the company with one gas station in Gate City, Va., in 1958 will become founder and chairman emeritus.
Pilot Flying J and its recently acquired Maxum Energy Company have annual sales in excess of $30 billion, according to the company news release.
The combined companies employ more than 25,000 people and conduct business in 44 states in the United States as well as six provinces in Canada.
PFJ is the largest operator of travel centers and truck stops in North America, and Maxum Energy is the largest supplier of diesel fuel to drilling rigs and hydraulic fracturing units in the United States.
"We are tremendously excited to have an individual with John's intelligence, character and financial acumen join our PFJ team," stated Jimmy Haslam in the news release.
"He will bring tremendous management skills which will enable PFJ to continue the rapid growth it has enjoyed over the last decade."
Compton was quoted in the news release as saying, "I am honored to have been extended the trust of the Haslam family.
"I have watched Pilot Flying J succeed for many years and have seen first-hand their strategic acuity and operational excellence.
"My wife Cindy and our children Kendall, Caroline and Jack, are thrilled to be coming to Knoxville.
"And, I am forever grateful to PepsiCo. I have had the great fortune of learning from world-class teams, and I look forward to serving the associates and customers of Pilot."
A native Tennessean, Compton is a Greeneville High School graduate and a 1983 graduate of the University of Tennessee.
Upon graduating from college, he began his PepsiCo career working at a Frito-Lay plant in Pulaski, Tenn.
He held numerous leadership positions at Frito-Lay, rising to vice chairman and president.
He later became chief executive officer of Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade, based in Chicago, and was named president of PepsiCo in March 2012.
In that capacity, he guided PepsiCo's global business units and functions.
PepsiCo, with revenues exceeding $66 billion, is the second-largest consumer packaged goods company in the world.
Compton has been actively involved in the University of Tennessee, serving on the Business School Dean's Advisory Board for the past 12 years.
The College of Business named him a Distinguished Alumnus in 2010.
One year later, the university gave him its highest alumni honor by naming him Distinguished Alumnus.
He and his wife, Cindy, were leaders in UT's Campaign for Tennessee.
In addition, he is a member of the board of directors of First Horizon Corporation, parent corporation of 1st Tennessee Bank.
"We are delighted that John Compton is coming home to east Tennessee as the CEO of Pilot/Flying J," said University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek.
Cheek added, "John has been a tremendous supporter of the university over the years. His leadership has greatly enhanced UT.
"Now the entire community will benefit from that leadership, and we're very proud that he will be running one of our state's premier companies."