Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi to step aside after 12 years at the helm

The 62-year-old will leave the role next month and be replaced by Ramon Laguarta

Indra Nooyi was the company's first female CEO. Peter Dejong / AP Photo
Indra Nooyi was the company's first female CEO. Peter Dejong / AP Photo

Indra Nooyi is stepping down as chief executive officer of food and beverage giant PepsiCo Inc, handing the reins to a top lieutenant in a transition that will draw attention to the dearth of prominent female CEOs in corporate America.

The 62-year-old will leave the role in October and remain chairman until early 2019.

Ramon Laguarta, 54, who has been a candidate to take over since a promotion last year to president, will be just the sixth CEO in the 53-year history of the company.

Nooyi, who is from India, is the first foreign-born CEO of PepsiCo and the first woman to lead the chips-and-soda behemoth, whose revenue topped $63 billion last year.


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Her departure thins the ranks of female CEOs running S&P 500 companies and comes at a time when PepsiCo’s North American beverage unit is stagnating amid a general decline in soda consumption.

In 24 years at PepsiCo, including 12 as chief executive, she has helped the Frito-Lay unit grow in a challenging industry and added healthier drinks and snacks to a portfolio that includes Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

“I’ve had a wonderful time being CEO, but at some point you sit back and say, look, it’s a responsible move to effect an orderly transition and to have somebody else take over the leadership of this company,” she said in an interview.

“Being a CEO requires strong legs and I feel like I ran two legs of a relay race and I want somebody else with nice strong legs and sharp eyes to come and lead this company.”

Updated: August 6, 2018 09:25 PM