Ed Boyd was working at the National Urban League in New York City in 1947 when Pepsi hired him and a team of educated black salesmen to help the company drives sales among blacks.
"His groundbreaking history with Pepsi and the powerful, lasting impact that Ed made on both our company and our nation speak for themselves," Nooyi said in a statement.
"When I reflect upon people who have made a profound difference on our company, Ed Boyd's name will be foremost among them. I believe his passion and tenacity are the embodiment of the very best of what PepsiCo strives to be every day," Nooyi continued.
As an assistant sales manager who led the group, Boyd created a marketing campaign that showed blacks as respectable, middle-class consumers.
One store display, for example, pictured a smiling mother holding a six-pack of Pepsi-Cola as her handsome, young son reached for a bottle. There also were series that profiled 20 black achievers and featured top students at black universities drinking Pepsi.
The promotions differed sharply from the insulting images of mammies and pickaninnies in many ads at the time.
"We'd been caricatured and stereotyped," Boyd said. "The advertisement represented us as normal Americans."
Boyd and his team visited black colleges, churches and markets throughout the country to promote Pepsi, enduring the daily injustices of racism along the way.
The group rode on segregated trains and was refused service at white-owned hotels. Insults from some colleagues at Pepsi weren't uncommon.
"Jackie Robinson may have made more headlines, but what Ed did — integrating the managerial ranks of corporate America — was equally groundbreaking," Donald M. Kendall, retired chairman and chief executive of PepsiCo, said in a statement. to read his entire history click here
For a time line of Pepsi's diversity click here