The long serving CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi is stepping down from her position. She has served for 24 years including 12 years at the helm. She will hand over the control in the month of October to Ramon Laguarta, the president for the global operations, public policy and government affairs, strategy. Nooyi will to be a Chairman until 2019. Indra Nooyi is the famous Indian born female CEO.
Nooyi, 62, said, “I’ve had a wonderful time being CEO, but at some point you sit back and say, look, it’s a responsible move to effect an orderly transition and to have somebody else take over the leadership of this company. Being a CEO requires strong legs and I feel like I ran two legs of a relay race and I want somebody else with nice strong legs and sharp eyes to come and lead this company.”
Indra Nooyi was born in Chennai and pursued her education at Madras Christain College. She earned her MBA from IIM-Calcutta and another master’s degree at Yale. She was the lead person for the PepsiCo’s transition from a pure-play beverage company to a food-and-beverage giant. She initiated this move when she was the CFO.
Conscious about the societal shift towards healthier foods, she also drove the agenda to add healthier snacks and drinks to the Pepsi portfolio. She even characterised PepsiCo’s product range as ‘fun for you’ (Pepsi, Lays, Cheetos); ‘better for you’ (baked Lays, Diet Pepsi etc) and ‘good for you’ (Quaker Oats and Tropicana). In a statement on PepsiCo’s India business, Nooyi said, “I’m especially proud of the great work we’ve done in India to transform our portfolio to include more nutritious products, working with and supporting thousands of Indian farmers, and providing an inclusive workplace.”
Under the leadership of Nooyi, PepsiCo’s revenue increased by more than 80% as it added a new billion-dollar brand each year. She was also chief architect of PepsiCo’s vision of Performance with Purpose. Ethics and integrity were important values she fostered in the company and under her leadership, PepsiCo consistently made it to Ethisphere’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Former PepsiCo India Chairman & CEO, D Shivakumar, says Indra always was customer-centric and would always reach out to people within and outside the organisation.
Nooyi was a frequent visitor to India, speaking at various fora and meeting top bureaucrats and ministers. She was one of the main speakers at AdAsia 2011, where the theme was dealing with uncertainty; her message — that volatility is the new normal, and business leaders must learn the skill of adaptability — holds true to this day.
Leaders, she said, had to operate in the present and yet be focussed on the future. ”Uncertain times require us to have a long-term horizon. It is companies with a clear long-term mission that will thrive. But at the same time, investors need great performance, here and now. So we have to work on two time-scales at once,” she said. Nooyi also said that in volatile times, we need to be ambitious. “We must make big changes to big things,” she had said.