After 12 years as chief executive officer (CEO) of PepsiCo Inc., Purchase, N.Y., Indra Nooyi announced that she will step down Oct. 3. Nooyi has been with the company for 24 years. She will remain chairman until early 2019.
Following a unanimous election by the Board of Directors, Ramon Laguarta, president of PepsiCo, will assume the CEO position as well as serve on the Board of Directors.
“Leading PepsiCo has truly been the honor of my lifetime, and I'm incredibly proud of all we have done over the past 12 years to advance the interests not only of shareholders, but all our stakeholders in the communities we serve," Nooyi said in a statement. “Growing up in India, I never imagined I'd have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary company. Guided by our philosophy of Performance with Purpose — delivering sustained performance while making more nutritious products, limiting our environmental footprint and lifting up all the communities we serve — we've made a more meaningful impact in people's lives than I ever dreamed possible. PepsiCo today is in a strong position for continued growth with its brightest days still ahead.
“Ramon Laguarta is exactly the right person to build on our success,” she continued. “He is a terrific executive with a long and proven track record of growing businesses. 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. Ramon has been a critical partner in running the company, and I'm confident he will take PepsiCo to new and greater heights in the years to come.”
Under Nooyi’s leadership, PepsiCo exhibited recognizable performance, including the following highlights:
- Since Dec. 31, 2006, total shareholder return of 162 percent through Dec. 31, 2017
- Total cash returned to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases of $79.4 billion since the beginning of 2006 through the end of 2017
- Dividends per share nearly tripled from $1.16 in 2006 to $3.17 in 2017, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 10 percent
- Net revenue growth from $35 billion in 2006 to $63.5 billion in 2017, a CAGR of 5.5 percent
Speaking on behalf of PepsiCo's Board of Directors, presiding director Ian Cook said: "As chairman and CEO, Indra has provided outstanding leadership over the past 12 years, serving as a model both within our industry and beyond for responsible corporate stewardship in the 21st century. She has delivered strong and consistent financial performance, managing with an eye toward not only the short-run, but the long-run as well. As CEO, she grew revenue more than 80 percent, outperforming our peers and adding a new billion-dollar brand almost every other year. And shareholders have benefited: $1,000 invested in PepsiCo in 2006 is worth more than two-and-a-half times that amount today.
"At the same time, Indra has invested for the future, leading the way on corporate sustainability and responsibility, and embedding a sense of purpose in everything the company does,” he continued. “As one of the first Fortune 100 CEOs to embed sustainability targets into business operations, Indra was a pioneer, paving the way for a new generation of business leaders who seek to ‘do well by doing good.’ Under her leadership, PepsiCo grew its portfolio of Good for You and Better-for-You options from about 38 performance of revenue in 2006 to roughly 50 performance in 2017, almost tripled its investments in research and development to expand its more nutritious offerings and minimize its environmental impact, and achieved global recognition for the company's work in communities around the world.
"Indra has also, selflessly, served as a mentor for associates up and down the organization, building close relationships with leaders in every one of PepsiCo's key markets, championing diversity and adhering to the highest standards of corporate ethics, earning PepsiCo a place on Ethisphere's list of the World's Most Ethical Companies every year since the list was established 12 years ago,” Cook added. “Thanks to her leadership, PepsiCo is well positioned for ongoing success as Ramon assumes this new role. He is a seasoned leader with deep experience in international markets, and the board is confident that he is the right person to usher in this next chapter of growth for PepsiCo.”
Laguarta will become the sixth CEO in PepsiCo's 53-year history. He has served a number of executive and general management roles in his 22 years at PepsiCo. Since September 2017, Laguarta has served as president of PepsiCo, overseeing global operations, corporate strategy, public policy and government affairs. Previously, Laguarta served as CEO of Europe Sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to that, he served as president of PepsiCo Eastern Europe region and served in a variety of sales, marketing and other commercial roles across Europe.
"I'm incredibly humbled and privileged to be appointed the next CEO of PepsiCo, and I want to thank the Board of Directors for the confidence they have placed in me with their decision," Laguarta said. "I also want to thank Indra for her overwhelming support. She has transformed the company with her bold vision and outstanding leadership, and I feel fortunate to have her as a mentor and a friend. And of course, I want to thank all of my colleagues, as well as the customers, bottlers, partners, and investors who are part of the PepsiCo family. I look forward to working more closely with all of you in the months and years ahead, and to continue growing this special company long into the future.”
Regarding Laguarta’s appointment, Daniel Vasella, chairman of the Board's nominating and corporate governance committee said: “Ramon Laguarta's unanimous appointment follows a systematic and thorough succession process by the Board of Directors. Laguarta equally represents continuity and the necessary agility for PepsiCo. Ramon is a strong and proven executive with an outstanding track record growing organically and by acquisition some of PepsiCo's largest and most important international businesses. He keenly understands the evolving needs of consumers and customers and the trends affecting our business in markets around the world.
“He will bring the depth of experience and innovative thinking that has powered his previous achievements as he is inheriting a well-positioned company poised to continue delivering top-tier performance,” he continued. “Indra has been a visionary leader who transformed the corporation and led it to unprecedented success. Her leadership skills, strategic acumen, dedication and integrity have been critical to the sustained success of the corporation and the development of top talent.”
With Nooyi's departure, the rest of PepsiCo's senior leadership team will remain unchanged, the company says.
In closing, Nooyi said: “Today is a day of mixed emotions for me. This company has been my life for nearly a quarter century and part of my heart will always remain here. But I am proud of all we've done to position PepsiCo for success, confident that Ramon and his senior leadership team will continue prudently balancing short-term and long-term priorities, and excited for all the great things that are in store for this company. PepsiCo's best days are still ahead of it.”