Indra Nooyi has announced that she is stepping down as CEO of PepsiCo. Nooyi has served as the company’s CEO for 12 years. She was one of the most prominent women to lead a Fortune 500 company. Nooyi has spent over 25 years in the food and beverage industry and was behind some of Pepsi’s iconic brands including Gatorade, Tropicana, and Frito-Lay. There are only 5% of companies in the Fortune 500 list managed by women and Pepsi was one of them. Nooyi will be replaced by Ramon Laguarta, the company’s current president. Laguarta will be Pepsi’s sixth CEO over 53 years.
Nooyi was born and raised in India. She says that growing up as a kid she never thought that one day she would lead such a huge and extraordinary company. Nooyi was very happy with the work she did with the food and beverage giant adding that the impact they have on people’s lives is quite meaningful. Nooyi was credited for steering PepsiCo away from its core soda business to venture into snacks, soft drinks, and healthier options.
Revenues for the company also grew nearly 80% during her time adding almost a billion dollars to the business each year. Pepsi was also able to outperform other companies in this industry. The company’s value has also grown massively since 2006. The company’s stocks are now two and half times more valuable than they were back then. Current president Ramon Laguarta praised Nooyi for her leadership. He said that the CEO had done so well to transform the company with her “bold vision and outstanding leadership.” Laguarta called Nooyi a great friend and mentor wishing her all the best in her future endeavors.
Nooyi will step down from her CEO position in October but she’s still expected to remain as the company’s chairman until 2019. Laguarta will take over in October. Laguarta was born in Barcelona and has been with Pepsi for quite some time now. Nooyi said in her remarks that Laguarta already has a deep understanding of Pepsi’s current operations including consumer preferences and critical trends that are unfolding in the food and beverage industry.
The biggest achievement that Nooyi has had was transitioning Pepsi away from the soda business. In a time when people are conscious of what they eat and the increasing bad rep on sugary soft drinks, it was crucial for Pepsi to look to the future by diversifying its business into new areas. It hasn’t been an easy transition but the leadership shown by Nooyi really made a difference.
Nooyi has also been considered one of the most inspirational women in Corporate America. Her time with Pepsi is seen as a critical moment in breaking the glass ceiling for women CEOs in the US corporate scene. It’s not clear whether she will be back in management but she definitely has a lot to offer. She may take over as CEO of a different company or still remain with Pepsi as a board member but her career in the food and beverage industry speaks for itself.