Indra Nooyi to Step Down as PepsiCo’s CEO
One of the world’s most influential women in business and most prominent female CEO, and PepsiCo’s fifth CEO in its 41-year history, Indra Nooyi, is stepping down after more than a decade at the helm.
She will be handing over to Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year PepsiCo veteran, in October 2018 and will remain chairman until early next year. Laguarta’s previous duties involved overseeing global operations, corporate strategy, public policy and government affairs, as well as directing PepsiCo’s growth in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nooyi, who is most known for having responded to global shifts in consumer tastes by changing the business’ focus from products with high sugar content to healthier fare, was born in India. At the age of 23, she went to study at Yale, qualifying with a master’s degree in public and private management, before going on to work for Boston Consulting and later became director of corporate strategy and planning at Motorola – she started her tenure at PepsiCo in 1994.
In a statement, Nooyi stated, “Growing up in India, I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary company… PepsiCo today is in a strong position for continued growth with its brightest days still ahead.”
Nooyi’s departure leaves only 22 women in what seems to be a shrinking group of prominent female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies… this number, however, is still double the amount compared to when she took over the helm at PepsiCo in 2006.
Author of The Board Game: How Smart Women Become Corporate Directors, Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire said, “We’re seeing the first women to break the glass ceiling reach the age of retirement… It’s a very difficult ascent of the patrician mountain, and corporations should be grooming their next tier of executives to include women so that at least one woman has a chance to move into that senior executive role.”
By helping to steer PepsiCo away from its reliance on sugary soft drinks and snacks toward healthier products such as baked chips, baked fruit and vegetable snacks, water and being early in the coconut water market, Nooyi’s changes saw PepsiCo’s healthier food and beverages revenue rise from 38% in 2006 to 50% – and its overall revenue grow to $63.5bn, from $35bn in 2006.