Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Indra Nooyi to Step Down as PepsiCos CEO After 12 Years

Indra Nooyi to Step Down as PepsiCos CEO After 12 Years

She was frequently voted in various polls as one of the most powerful female executives in the world. With her departure, the list of Fortune 500 companies led by women is down yet another member.

PepsiCo's board praised Nooyi, who led the company through its most challenging period, due to the long decline in sales of carbonated soda, as consumers have turned to healthier beverages. She was among the first of a handful of India-born executives to helm global corporates.

Nooyi, who is from India, is the first foreign-born CEO of Pepsi and the first woman to lead the chips-and-soda behemoth, whose revenue topped $63 billion past year. "When you are the CEO, especially of such a large company company, there's only one priority, and that priority is being CEO". How are you going to attract women to the workforce, where we need them, but allow them to balance having a family and taking care of aging parents, because they're all part of a sandwich generation today, and still allow them to contribute productively to the workforce?

"I think there are business leaders who like politics and there are business leaders who'd be lousy at politics", she said. The couple has two daughters. She praised Nooyi for delivering strong shareholder returns, broadening its offerings and investing in R&D. She characterised PepsiCo's product range as "fun for you" (Pepsi, Lays, Cheetos); "better for you" (baked Lays, Diet Pepsi etc) and "good for you" (Quaker Oats and Tropicana). So leave that damned crown in the garage.

As president, Laguarta has been overseeing global operations, corporate strategy, public policy and government affairs. "That will not change", Nooyi, 62, said in an e-mailed statement, a few hours after the USA firm announced that she is stepping down. With this gift, Nooyi became the most generous graduate of Yale School of Management in terms of lifetime giving to the school. That also represents around 5 percent of CEOs. She will remain as chairman until early 2019.

Laguarta starts on October 3 and will be PepsiCo's sixth CEO in its 53-year history. "He has been a critical partner and friend and I am positive that he will take PepsiCo to new and greater heights in the years to come", she tweeted about her decision.

In her climb to the top, she had a major hand in re-shaping PepsiCo - helping it to spin off its interest in Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell while a top executive at the company.

Earlier this year, Indra Nooyi was named the first independent female director of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Prior to that, he was president, PepsiCo Eastern Europe region and served in a variety of sales, marketing and other commercial roles across Europe.

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