Indra Nooyi is proud of the work Pepsi has done in India
Indra Nooyi is stepping down as chief executive officer of food and beverage giant PepsiCo Inc., handing the reins to a top lieutenant in a transition that will draw attention to the dearth of prominent female CEOs in corporate America. Nooyi, 62, will leave the role in October and remain chairman until early 2019. Ramon Laguarta, 54, who has been a candidate to take over since a promotion last year to president, will be just the sixth CEO in the 53-year history of the company. Nooyi, who is from India, is the first foreign-born CEO of Pepsi and the first woman to lead the chips-and-soda behemoth, whose revenue topped $63 billion last year. Her departure thins the ranks of female CEOs running S&P 500 companies and comes at a time when Pepsi's North American beverage unit is stagnating amid a general decline in soda consumption. In 24 years at Pepsi, including 12 as chief executive, she has helped the Frito-Lay unit grow in a challenging industry and added healthier drinks and snacks to a portfolio that includes Cheetos and Mountain Dew.