Herbalife Ltd., the nutrition company being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it’s a pyramid scheme, hired a PepsiCo Inc. executive to take on a newly created public-affairs job.
Alan Hoffman, a former aide to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, will become executive vice president of global corporate affairs at Herbalife, the Los Angeles-based company said today in a statement. As part of the job, which starts Aug. 25, he’ll oversee public policy, corporate communications, government affairs, community relations and philanthropy.
Herbalife, facing both regulatory scrutiny and attacks by billionaire hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman, plans to make its case more strongly to Washington and the general public. Earlier this week, Ackman gave a presentation purporting to show that Herbalife was a fraud that takes advantage of low-income people by promising them lucrative business opportunities. Ackman, a short seller betting against Herbalife’s stock, failed to convince other investors and the shares jumped more than 25 percent in a single day.
“I look forward to ensuring that the public more clearly understands the critical role the company plays in advancing good nutrition,” Hoffman, who was senior vice president for global public policy at PepsiCo, said in the statement. “I also look forward to promoting the economic opportunities that this global nutrition company provides for hard-working people in communities everywhere.”
As part of the move, Barbara Henderson, senior vice president of global corporate communications, will step down. She informed the company last year that she wanted to retire at age 67, Herbalife said. Before joining PepsiCo, Hoffman was Biden’s deputy chief of staff and deputy assistant to President Barack Obama.
Ackman’s firm, Pershing Square Capital Management LP, accuses Herbalife of misleading distributors, misrepresenting sales figures and selling a commodity product at inflated prices. Regulators including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement are investigating the allegations.
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