PepsiCo (PEP) announced on Monday the death of Saad Abdul-Latif, triggering a hunt for a new leader of the company's Asian division.

"It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Saad Abdul-Latif, our Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa,” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said in a securities filing.

Umran Beba, in addition to her current responsibilities as chief human resources officer for PepsiCo Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA), will serve as acting sector head until a permanent replacement is found.

Abdul-Latif, 59, served as CEO of PepsiCo AMEA since November 2009, heading a business unit that covers more than 90 countries in almost three-fourths of the world’s population. In 2011, the region generated revenues of $7.4 billion.

As a 30-year veteran of PepsiCo -- having launched his career with Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo in 1982 -- he held a number of international roles in the food and beverage company.

Outside of his business functions, he also founded PepsiCo’s Tomooh education program, of which the World Food Programme is a partner, and headed the company’s benefactor sponsorship of the Arab International Women’s Forum.

"Saad was much more than a business leader. He was a deep personal friend to so many PepsiCo family members in every corner of the globe,” Nooyi said. “The thoughts and prayers of PepsiCo associates are with Saad and his family during this difficult time.”

PepsiCo did not provide further details regarding his death.

In a statement, Nooyi touted AMEA’s “strong and deep leadership team” that she says have “set the standard” for management and growth.

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