End of an era

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi announces she’s retiring after 12 years at helm of soda giant

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi poses for a portrait by products at the Tops SuperMarket in Batavia, New York, U.S. on June 3, 2013. (REUTERS/Don Heupel/)

Indra Nooyi announced on Monday that she’s planning to step down as the chief executive officer of PepsiCo this October. According to The Associated Press, PepsiCo is the world’s second-largest food and beverage company and Nooyi has been instrumental in the mega-company’s expansion during her 12 year tenure there.

Under Nooyi’s stewardship, PepsiCo nearly doubled revenue from $35 billion when she took over in 2006 to more than $63 billion in 2017, The New York Times reported. Much of that growth came from Nooyi’s expansion into healthier beverage and snack products. The company’s stock price has almost doubled during the Nooyi era.

Nooyi, 62, began with PepsiCo in 1994, and became the company’s chief financial officer in 2000 before becoming the company’s first woman CEO in 2006. Nooyi hails from Chennai, India, and she will remain as the company’s chairwoman until 2019. She will be succeeded by Ramon Laguarta, who started with PepsiCo 22 years ago has been working in several top strategy positions.

In addition to being a forceful leader of one of the world’s largest corporations, Nooyi has also been politically outspoken and has talked frankly about the challenges women have historically faced in the workforce. She was an enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Also in 2016, Nooyi appeared on a panel at the annual Women in the World Summit in New York City, where she discussed, along with Anne-Marie Slaughter, the difficulties in striking a healthy work-life balance while trying to be a top achiever.

Indra Nooyi speaks onstage with Anne-Marie Slaughter during Tina Brown’s 7th Annual Women In The World Summit at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on April 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

She revealed to the audience that in her early days at PepsiCo, she would commonly bring her baby daughter into work with her and have the tot sleep underneath her desk. In retrospect, she said, she looked back on having done so with heartache.

“It’s not regret. I love what I’m doing,” Nooyi explained. “I may have regretted not doing it had I just stayed home.” But she expressed mixed feelings about the “huge number of sacrifices” she made to become a success. She also shared the contents a letter her young daughter once wrote to her. “Dear Mom, I love you,” her daughter wrote. “Please come home. Please please please please please come home.”

During that same appearance, Nooyi talked about how women could advance in the workplace more quickly if women were better at helping women colleagues, and more receptive to taking constructive criticism — from other women. Those remarks went viral in a video post two years ago on the Women in the World Facebook page. Since then, it was racked up 4.2 million views. Below, watch her full remarks and click here to watch video of her full appearance.

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