Cola's first lady: Indra Nooyi's final day as CEO of PepsiCo

Nooyi will be succeeded by 54-year-old Ramon Lagurata

Published: Oct 3, 2018
Image: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Moneycontrol News

Indra Nooyi had announced on August 6 this year that she will be stepping down as the chief executive officer (CEO) from PepsiCo on October 3. Nooyi was at the helm of the company for 24 years and served as CEO of PepsiCo for 12 years. She will be succeeded by Ramon Lagurata, 54.

Nooyi will not, however, make an exit from the company immediately. She will continue as chairperson until early 2019.

Nooyi's stint at PepsiCo

Nooyi took over as CEO of Pepsi in 2006 and became the first woman chief executive of the company. She is also the first foreign-born CEO of the chips-and-soda behemoth.

She joined as senior vice president, strategic planning in 1994. Nooyi stressed the company's move toward "good for you" options, such as Baked Lay's potato chips and Naked juices made of fruits and vegetables.

PepsiCo's international operations rely less on beverages and more on snacks. This is an area Nooyi is largely credited with — re-shaping and expanding the business as consumers shifted away from soda and focused on healthy food.

During her stint at Pepsi, she has helped the Frito-Lay unit grow into a challenging industry and added healthier drinks and snacks to a portfolio that includes Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

What Nooyi's exit means for Pepsi

Nooyi's exit comes at a time when many consumer goods groups are struggling to generate growth from their traditional products. This is because younger shoppers are looking for healthier, local and niche goods.

The problem is acute for soft drink makers. Overall, soda consumption has dropped to its lowest in more than 30 years. The pressure is on to find alternatives to sugary drinks.

During her tenure, Nooyi also saw off activist Nelson Peltz. He had called for the company to be split into its beverage division and its successful snack arm, which includes Doritos and Lay's chips.

However, calls for a separation could emerge once more. Though the company's recent financial reports have been encouraging, changes in consumer tastes are here to stay.

Future of female leadership after Nooyi's exit

Nooyi's exit has brought the number of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies to 24.

There were 25 female CEOs, including Nooyi, in the S&P 500, according to Catalyst, which promotes women in the workplace.

Within the food industry, Nooyi is the latest female chief executive to step down, following Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld last year and Campbell CEO Denise Morrison earlier this year.

Of the 339 CEOs that have held the top job at an S&P 500 company for at least two years, only 17 were women, about 5 percent.

Original Source: