Pepsi: Indra Nooyi (CEO)
The planned departure of CEO, Indra Nooyi ends a sweet era for PepsiCo. Nooyi was with the $63B company for just under half of the 53-year history upon Pepsi Colas’s merger with Frito-Lay. Nooyi, as CEO for the past 12 years, broke down barriers, being the first foreign-born CEO of Pepsi and the first woman to lead the food and beverage giant.
Amidst the 90’s health craze, PepsiCo staggered both in product and PR. Nooyi is credited for revitalizing their portfolio, turning their product edge from “Fun for you” to “Fun for you AND good for you”. Under her leadership, Pepsi delved into healthier food options by expanding into baked chips and acquired new healthy offerings and snacks like Quaker Oats oatmeal, Sabra Hummus, and Naked Juice Smoothies. In addition to growing the company, Indra spearheaded a more environmentally conscious company and she increased sales (80% to be exact) and reduced Pepsi’s carbon footprint.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal she said “The conversation I had with the board about me transitioning out of the company was a very, very sensible, responsible structured discussion.” It would need to be, to manage the 22 billion dollar brands, 200 countries, and 260,000+ employees. She leaves the company with current PepsiCo President, Ramon Laguarta taking over. In addition to depth and passion toward the company, Nooyi’s resignation highlights the loss of prominent female CEOs in corporate America. Her leaving thins the ranks of female leaders to just 23 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, less than 5% of all Fortune 500. Even though she stepped down, she is still serving up motivation for the next generation. “We have to keeping fighting to develop women so we can get them into the boardroom, into C suites and into the ultimate CEO Job”. PepsiCo loses a defining global figure delivering the triple-threat of diversity, loyalty, and profit.