Sinclair was born in Hong Kong, and spent his childhood in Bombay, India, where he was educated at the Kodaikanal International School. Sinclair's father was president of Esso Oil (now Exxon Mobil)'s international operations. He graduated cum laude from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in marketing, and he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega. Sinclair received an M.B.A. from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College in 1973.
Sinclair was chairman and chief executive officer of the Pepsi-Cola Company, as well as president and CEO of PepsiCo Foods and Beverages International for the majority of his career. He became CEO of Pepsi International in 1989 until his promotion in 1993 to run worldwide operations for the food and beverage maker. Sinclair spent nearly 20 years at PepsiCo, which includes Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Quaker Oats, Tropicana, and Gatorade.
He was Pepsi's go-to guy in the international "Cola Wars". It was under Sinclair's watch that Pepsi famously entered India, and he is also behind recruiting PepsiCo's current chief executive officer Indra Nooyi. Sinclair led the global success of the PepsiCo brands in building significant shareholder value, creating enduring consumer franchise and increasing market share. Always ambitious, Sinclair told Fortune magazine in 1994, "If Coke starts growing 8%, we'll do 10% or 12%." He predicted non-U.S. cola sales of $5 billion by 1995, and met his goal. Sinclair retired from PepsiCo and the board of directors in 1996 at the age of 45, due to frequent tavel and a desire to spend more time with his family.
Since his tenure at PepsiCo, Sinclair has served as CEO of Quality Food Centers, Inc. (NYSE), a U.S. west coast supermarket chain backed by billionaire Samuel Zell's Equity Group. After 18-months, Quality Food expanded rapidly and was successfully sold to Fred Meyer, Inc., for $1.3 billion in 1998. Sinclair helped orchestrate the deal and was a large shareholder. Fred Meyer is now owned by The Kroger Co.
More recently, Sinclair led the financial restructuring of Caribiner International, Inc. (NYSE) as chairman and CEO of this Warburg Pincus sponsored global business communications company. As well, he has served as a partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors, LP, a private equity firm.
Sinclair currently serves as a board member of numerous public and private companies, including: Cambridge Soultions Ltd., Foot Locker, Inc., Mattel, Inc., and Scandent Group Holdings. He is a former director of eMerge Interative, Inc., F.W. Woolworth Company, Merisant Company, PepsiCo, Inc., and Perdue Farms, Inc. Sinclair has also served as a trustee at Brunswick School, Vermont Academy, and on the Board of Overseers at the Tuck School of Business Administration. He currently serves on the Parents' Board at Wake Forest University.
Sinclair, a generous philanthropist, has given millions of dollars to charitable organizations and educational institutions. Along with the PepsiCo Foundation, Sinclair has given more than $1 million to Dartmouth College, where they named a dining hall in his honor in 1995.
Sinclair, and his wife Margaret, reside in Greenwich, Connecticut and Palm Beach, Florida; they have three children.