“This company has been my life,” says Indian-American CEO of PepsiCo announcing retirement

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PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi (PRNewsfoto/PepsiCo, Inc.)

Indra Nooyi, 62, the leading Indian-American CEO of the 2nd largest global food and beverage giant, who is responsible for diversifying the PepsiCo brand, is leaving after 12 years at the helm.

PepsiCo announced her departure via Twitter saying “Ramon Laguarta has been unanimously elected by the board of directors to succeed @IndraNooyi as CEO, on Oct 3, 2018.”

The company which is headquartered in Purchase, N.Y., said in a press release that Nooyi will remain Chairman until early 2019 to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

Under Nooyi’s leadership, PepsiCo has delivered strong results, the company said, including shareholder returns of 162 percent since Dec. 31, 2006, and a net revenue growth from $35 billion in 2006 to $63.5 billion in 2017, a compound annual growth rate of 5.5%

“Today is a day of mixed emotions for me. This company has been my life for nearly a quarter century and part of my heart will always remain here,” Nooyi is quoted saying in a press release Aug. 6. Calling it an honor of a lifetime to lead the company, Nooyi said, “Growing up in India, I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary company.” She is credited with not only raising shareholder returns, but diversifying the products and also the philanthropic profile of the company. “Guided by our philosophy of Performance with Purpose—delivering sustained performance while making more nutritious products, limiting our environmental footprint and lifting up all the communities we serve—we’ve made a more meaningful impact in people’s lives than I ever dreamed possible,” Nooyi said.

She praised Laguarta saying he was exactly the right person to build on the success and had a proven track record of growing businesses and knowing the pulse of consumer preferences and critical trends in the industry globally.

Speaking on behalf of PepsiCo’s Board of Directors, presiding director Ian Cook said, “As Chairman and CEO, Indra has provided outstanding leadership over the past 12 years, serving as a model both within our industry and beyond for responsible corporate stewardship in the 21st century.”

Cook said Nooyi had delivered “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,” benefiting investors and investing in the future as well as leading the way on corporate responsibility

“As one of the first Fortune 100 CEOs to embed sustainability targets into business operations, Indra was a pioneer, paving the way for a new generation of business leaders who seek to ‘do well by doing good,” Cook said.

Under her leadership, PepsiCo grew its portfolio of Good for You and Better for You options from about 38% of revenue in 2006 to roughly 50% 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, Cook added.

Since Nooyi came to head the company, PepsiCo has been listed on the World’s Most Ethical Companies every year.

Laguarta thanked Nooyi for transforming the company “with her bold vision and outstanding leadership.” He becomes the sixth CEO in PepsiCo’s 53-year history, all of whom have been appointed from within the organization.

With Nooyi’s departure, the rest of PepsiCo’s senior leadership team will remain unchanged, the company said, including other South Asian-Americans such as, Dr. Mehmood Khan, vice chairman and chief scientific officer, Global Research and Development; Vivek Sankaran, president and CEO, Frito-Lay North America; and Laxman Narasimhan, CEO Latin America and Europe Sub-Saharan Africa.

Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi was born in Madras (Chennai) and is a graduate of the Yale School of Management.

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