Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi exits PepsiCo after 12-year reign

Indra Nooyi, the first woman to serve as chief executive officer at PepsiCo, will step down from the position she’s held for 12 years on Oct. 3, marking then end of a 24-year career with the company.

Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo’s current president, will assume the CEO position and join the company’s Board of Directors effective Oct. 3. Nooyi will remain Chairman until early 2019 to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. The rest of PepsiCo’s senior leadership team will remain unchanged.

Nooyi has been a pioneer in the industry and paved the way for a new generation of leaders. As CEO, she grew revenue more than 80 percent added a new billion-dollar brand almost every other year by looking beyond the company’s core products of soft drinks. Under her leadership, PepsiCo grew its portfolio of “Good for You” and “Better for You” options from approximately 38 percent of revenue in 2006 to roughly 50 percent in 2017, almost tripled its investments in research and development to expand its more nutritious offerings and minimize its environmental impact, and achieved global recognition for the company’s work in communities around the world.

This past May, PepsiCo entered an agreement to acquire Bare Snacks, a maker of baked fruit and vegetable snacks for an undisclosed amount. The deal will expand Pepsi’s better-for-you snacking portfolio and further deliver on its Performance with Purpose vision to offer consumers more positive nutrition options.

“Leading PepsiCo has truly been the honor of my lifetime, and I'm incredibly proud of all we have done over the past 12 years to advance the interests not only of shareholders, but all our stakeholders in the communities we serve,” Nooyi said. “Growing up in India, I never imagined I'd have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary company.”

When Nooyi departs PepsiCo, there will be just 23 female CEOs at S&P 500 companies, according to Bloomberg analysis of data from Catalyst. She is just the latest high-profile female CEO to depart industry.

In May 2018, Campbell Soup Co. President and CEO Denise Morrison abruptly announced her immediate retirement. Morrison, who led the soup giant since 2011, guided the company’s strategic reorganization to better position it to capitalize on the rapidly changing food industry landscape, while more closely aligning the business with the company’s three growth strategies: optimize the value of the core; increase health and well-being food, beverages and snacks; and, accelerate distribution and new business models.

Also in May,  Twinlab CEO Naomi Whittel announced she was leaving after two years at the helm to focus on projects aimed at engaging consumers with nutrition-related health messages.

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