Medical School Dean Joins The Pepsi Generation

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Apparently the Dean of the University of Minnesota medical school does not see a conflict of interest in joining the board of Pepsi, though the University has an organization called the Obesity Prevention Center which doesn't think too highly of sodas in the fight against fat.

To add insult to injury, Dean Deborah Powell claims that when she accepted the role as PepsiCo board member, she was unaware that it paid an annual fee of $30,000 plus $2,000 per board meeting attended and $60,000 in stock.

University of Minnesota Medical School Dean Dr. Deborah Powell expected questions after joining the board of PepsiAmericas, one of the world's largest sellers of Pepsi and Mountain Dew.

Three months after Powell signed on with PepsiAmericas, though, the questions haven't ebbed. Outside critics continue to ask why a high-profile state health official would join with a firm whose main products are linked to childhood obesity and diabetes. One U researcher wants a "serious conversation" about the ethics of corporate consulting.

Powell said she wanted to be a voice for nutrition in the boardroom. She and her boss who backs her decision say the PepsiAmericas position is proper and valuable to the university.

A recently completed internal review, standard for any U employee involved in outside work, found no conflict of interest in her service to PepsiAmericas, a publicly traded company that is the world's second-largest bottler of PepsiCo. brands.

That may not put the matter to rest. The appointment has wound itself into the national debate over how food and soft-drink makers do business. The basic questions: Can a doctor take money from a corporation but stay independent? Is joining a corporate board equal to endorsing its products?





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