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CEO says Facebook may make ‘big bets’

SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t enjoyed watching his company’s stock price plunge this summer, but he is relishing the opportunity to prove his critics on Wall Street wrong.

“I would rather be in a cycle where people underestimate us,” Zuckerberg said Tuesday. “I think it gives us the latitude to go out and make some big bets.”

Zuckerberg, 28, spoke to a standing-room-only audience at a tech conference in San Francisco in his first interview since Facebook Inc.’s rocky initial public offering in May. The social networking leader’s stock has lost nearly half its value since the IPO, lopping more than $50 billion from Facebook’s market value.

Zuckerberg said the drop “has obviously been disappointing,” but he said it’s a great time to “double down” on the company’s future.

“Facebook has not been an uncontroversial company,” Zuckerberg said. “It’s not like this is the first up and down we have ever had.”

New president of Pepsico departs

NEW YORK – PepsiCo Inc. said Tuesday that its president is leaving after less than a year on the job, indicating a change at the top may not be coming anytime soon.

The Purchase, N.Y., company said John Compton’s departure is effective immediately. After joining the soda and snack food giant about 30 years ago, Compton had been named to the newly created position of president in March.

PepsiCo said Zein Abdalla, CEO of its European division, will take over as president. Enderson Guimaraes, who serves as president of the company’s global nutrition group, was named to head PepsiCo Europe.

Compton’s appointment as president was the centerpiece of a management restructuring that PepsiCo announced this spring. The restructuring was intended to strengthen the company’s lineup of potential successors to CEO Indra Nooyi; PepsiCo had faced speculation that Nooyi, 57, would step down amid investor dissatisfaction.

“Since February, it’s been clearer and clearer that Indra is going to run this company for some years to come,” said John Sicher, publisher of Beverage Digest, the closely watched industry tracker. “I think John wanted to run his own shop, and he realized that was not going to be PepsiCo.”

Value deals propel McDonald’s sales

NEW YORK – McDonald’s said a key sales figure climbed 3.7 percent in August, as the fast-food chain emphasized the value of its menu offerings amid the challenging global economy.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain said Tuesday that its breakfast menu and value items pushed up sales by 3 percent in the U.S. Last month, the figure had dipped 0.1 percent in the region after the company said its promotions failed to drive growth.

McDonald’s has been intensifying its “messaging around value,” noted Andy Barish, a Jefferies analyst. For example, he noted that the company ran promotions for its breakfast Dollar Menu in mid-August.