Indra Nooyi to step down as PepsiCo chief executive

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PepsiCo chief executive Indra Nooyi is to step down after 12 years at the helm.

She is among the world’s most prominent female business leaders and has consistently appeared on Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women, ranking 11th in 2017.

PepsiCo shares have risen 78% since she took the job in 2006.

Mrs Nooyi, 62, has been with the company for 24 years. Current president Ramon Laguarta will succeed her.

In a series of posts on Twitter, the businesswoman referred to her upbringing in India and said she “never imagined” she’d have the opportunity to lead a company like PepsiCo.

She also described “mixed emotions” about leaving the role.

Nooyi’s tenure

Mrs Nooyi was chief financial officer before becoming chief executive in October 2006, and has overseen significant revenue growth for the company.

“She has delivered a strong and consistent financial performance, managing with an eye toward, not only the short-run, but the long-run as well. As CEO, she grew revenue more than 80%, outperforming our peers and adding a new billion-dollar brand almost every other year.” said a PepsiCo statement.

PepsiCo’s board of directors unanimously voted in 54-year-old Mr Laguarta, who will take over on 3 October and will also join the board, according to the company.

A 22-year veteran of PepsiCo, Mr Laguarta oversaw global operations, corporate strategy, public policy and government affairs in his role as president.

Mrs Nooyi will continue as chairman of the board until early 2019.


Yogite Limaye, BBC business correspondent in Mumbai

Indra Nooyi’s success on the global stage has been ardently followed in India. For the tens of thousands of students who go from here to the US each year, the fact that a woman born in the southern city of Chennai, or Madras as it was called when she lived there, reached the helm of one of the world’s largest companies, is evidence that the American dream is real.

At the time she was elevated as the boss of PepsiCo, there were Indian born men leading big global firms, like Vikram Pandit at Citibank. But Ms Nooyi’s achievements were seen as particularly remarkable because of the odds she had to fight.

In a conservative, patriarchal society, where women are married off at an early age, and even many of those who do get jobs often have to quit when they have children, Ms Nooyi has been an inspiration for many across India.

What’s made her even more relatable to this country’s new generation of women who are striving to have and keep careers, is that she hasn’t shied away from being brutally frank about the challenges of work-life balance.

In the last few years, we’ve seen a string of Indian born professionals taking charge of global giants, like Satya Nadella at Microsoft and Sundar Pichai at Google.

Each elevation has grabbed headlines and has been spoken about with great pride here. But Ms Nooyi’s story remains unique for women in India, and around the world.