Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Nooyi to quit as PepsiCo CEO; will remain Chairman till early 2019

Nooyi to quit as PepsiCo CEO; will remain Chairman till early 2019

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

Laguarta starts on October 3 and will be PepsiCo's sixth CEO in its 53-year history. PepsiCo prides itself on tapping its leadership from within - every other chief executive has come from its own ranks.

"It concerns me in that we can actually count how many there are, as opposed to saying there are hundreds", she told Fortune today in an interview. "That will not change", Nooyi, 62, said in an e-mailed statement, a few hours after the USA firm announced that she is stepping down. Nearly exactly a year ago, Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld announced she would be stepping down from the maker of Oreos and Cadbury, and in May Campbell Soup's Denise Morrison retired suddenly. She spearheaded Pepsi's transition to a greener, more environmentally aware company. She characterised PepsiCo's product range as "fun for you" (Pepsi, Lays, Cheetos); "better for you" (baked Lays, Diet Pepsi etc) and "good for you" (Quaker Oats and Tropicana). As CEO, she later oversaw acquisition of a 50% stake in US hummus maker Sabra in 2008, formed a joint venture with Saudi Arabian dairy giant Almarai in 2009, and bought Brazilian coconut water company Amacoco. Shareholder returns rose 162 percent between December 2006 and December 2017.

Under her leadership, PepsiCo net revenues rose from $35 billion in 2006 to $63.5 billion in 2017, with much of the growth coming from global markets.


Nooyi is a rare minority female CEO in the business world. Now women hold just 6.4% of CEO roles in the Fortune 500.

Nooyi grew up in a middle class family in India.

"With demand for soda under pressure, PepsiCo can now take comfort in the fact that it has a balanced portfolio of products - including in emerging areas like plant-based snacks from its recent acquisition of Bare Foods", said Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.

Nooyi, a native of Chennai, India, holds a masters degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Management.


In her climb to the top, Nooyi had been at the forefront of several deals that reshaped PepsiCo. Roman Laguarta, the Pepsi's current president, will become its next CEO.

She has said this transformation would be a long-drawn one. "It just doesn't work because there's one constraint we all have, and that's that there are only 24 hours in a day". "We must make big changes to big things", she had said.

"How are we going to attract women who are more than 50 percent of all the college graduates who are getting all the top grades?"

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