Indra Nooyi Steps Down As PepsiCo CEO Today, Says "Lots Still Left In Me"

Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi, working with the global company since the last 24 years, will hand over the reins to veteran Ramon Laguarta.

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Indra Nooyi Steps Down As PepsiCo CEO Today, Says 'Lots Still Left In Me'

Indra Nooyi has been working with Pepsico for the last 24 years. She steps down as CEO today


New York: 

Pepsico's Indra Nooyi, who steps down as its chief executive officer today after 12 years at the helm of the global beverage giant, said a "lot of fuel" is still left in her "tank" and she looks forward to doing something different with her life.

Chennai-born Ms Nooyi was named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pepsico in 2006.

In her remarks during PepsiCo's Third Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call on Tuesday, Ms Nooyi said, "You know 12 years is a long time as a CEO, and even though I have a lot of fuel still left in my tank, I wanted to do something different with my life. Spend more time with my family and give the next generation in PepsiCo a chance to lead this great company."

Ms Nooyi, working with the global company since the last 24 years, said she was blessed to have had the opportunity to lead PepsiCo and "work with such incredible people including our outstanding board, executives and other associates, our customers and other partners, our shareholders and all our other stakeholders."

Ms Nooyi, who will hand over the reins of the company to veteran Ramon Laguarta at a time when the beverage maker navigates a shrinking global soda market, will remain chairman of the board until early 2019 to ensure a smooth transition.

PepsiCo's board of directors in August announced that they unanimously elected Mr Laguarta, 54, to succeed Indra Nooyi, 62, as CEO. Mr Laguarta was also elected to the company's Board of Directors, effective from today.

One of the most powerful and influential business leaders in the world, Ms Nooyi was regularly featured on power lists compiled by Forbes and Fortune magazines. She was also among the few female executives to lead global corporate giants. Just under five per cent of Fortune 500 companies have a female CEO at present. 

Ms Nooyi, a mother of two daughters, has been very vocal about the challenges women faced in trying to find a balance in managing their home and work. She once said at an Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado in 2014 that women "cannot have it all."

In a parting letter she wrote before stepping down as CEO, Ms Nooyi shared some reflections on what she has learnt during her tenure and the lessons that have guided her throughout my career.

"Think hard about time," she said. "We have so little of it on this earth. Make the most of your days, and make space for the loved ones who matter most. Take it from me. I've been blessed with an amazing career, but if I'm being honest, there have been moments I wish I'd spent more time with my children and family. So, I encourage you: be mindful of your choices on the road ahead," she said.

Ms Nooyi further wrote that serving as PepsiCo's CEO has been the honour of a lifetime.

"Now it's on to the next adventure-for us all. Thinking about my life beyond PepsiCo, I'm reminded of the words of the great Sufi mystic Rumi: Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation."

Ms Nooyi said throughout her tenure, PepsiCo has strived to achieve a difficult balance between attending to short term pressures while managing for the long-term.

She noted that PepsiCo has made positive contributions to communities around the globe in which it operates through its support of access to clean drinking water, human rights, nutrition, agricultural programmes and many more initiatives.

She said in the midst of managing the business for the long-term, PepsiCo also delivered a strong and consistent financial performance specifically during the period between 2006 and 2017.

Net revenue grew more than 80 per cent and the company added a new billion dollar brand almost every other year. "We return $79 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Our market capitalisation increased by $68 billion. Dividends per share nearly tripled from $1.16 to $3.17, and we generated total shareholder return of 162 per cent," she said.

The quarterly earnings report on Ms Nooyi's final day on the job beat analyst estimates: revenue rose 1.5 per cent to $16.5 billion while earnings totalled $1.59 a share.

Ms Nooyi described her successor Mr Laguarta as a terrific executive with a long and proven track record of growing businesses. She said he has a "deep understanding of the changing preferences of consumers and other critical trends unfolding around the world, and he has demonstrated that he knows how to navigate them successfully."

She also expressed confidence Mr Laguarta will lead PepsiCo to "new and greater heights in the years to come."
 



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