Indra Nooyi’s 12-year run as PepsiCo’s chief executive is coming to an end as she is set to step down from the position on October 3, reports the BBC.
After taking the job in 2006, PepsiCo shares have risen 78 percent and she has consistently made the Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women, ranking 11th in 2017.
The 62-year-old CEO has been with the company for 24 years total and will be succeeded by current president Ramon Laguarta in October of this year. However, she will remain chairwoman until 2019.
In a Twitter post about her decision to step down, Nooyi wrote that she never expected to have the opportunity she did to lead a company like PepsiCo due to her upbringing in India.
She has also stated that she has “mixed emotions” about leaving the position.
Growing up in India, I never imagined I’d have the opportunity to lead an extraordinary company like @PepsiCo. Leading this company has been the honor of my lifetime. We’ve made more meaningful impact in people’s lives than I ever dreamed possible. https://t.co/sSNfPgVK6W— Indra Nooyi (@IndraNooyi) August 6, 2018
During her time as PepsiCo’s CEO, she sought to redesign the company’s drinks and snacks to make them healthier. The sugary soft drinks the brand is known for have become less and less profitable over the past few years. She also led efforts to make the company greener and more environmentally aware.
According to company filings, she earned $31 million last year and $87 million over the course of the previous three years.
Nooyi will leave a huge legacy behind, having been one of just a handful of people of color to lead a Fortune 500 company.
After Beth Ford became the CEO of Land O’ Lakes last week, Nooyi’s departure will also leave just 24 women as leaders of Fortune 500 companies. In the past year alone, the number of women leading some of the nation’s largest companies has dropped 20 percent.
Other women who have recently stepped down from high-ranking positions include Marissa Mayer at Yahoo, Irene Rosenfeld at Mondelez (MDLZ), and Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).
Nooyi has expressed her approval in Laguarta becoming her successor.
CNN Money quotes her as calling him “exactly the right person to build on our success.”
Many people have sung Nooyi’s praises, including senior analyst at Wells Fargo Bonnie Herzog, reports CNN Money.
“We have had the privilege of knowing Nooyi for over a decade and have been very impressed with her leadership acumen and very thoughtful approach to managing PepsiCo through what has been a period of very choppy waters for broader consumer packaged goods. Nooyi has been an exemplary CEO and sets the bar high.”
Managing director of GlobalData Neil Saunders also chimed in.
“Nooyi will leave a company stronger than the one she inherited 12 years ago. It was her insistence on building up and maintaining a strong snack business that was most prescient. With demand for soda under pressure, PepsiCo can now take comfort in the fact that it has a balanced portfolio of products.”