Indra Nooyi will step down as PepsiCo’s chief executive after 12 years at helm after handing over the reins to her colleague Ramon Laguarta on October 3 amid a shrinking global soda market. Nooyi will, however, remain head of the board until early next year to ensure a smooth transition. Laguarta, a veteran with PepsiCo, has overseen its global operations, corporate strategy, public policy and government affairs in his role as president. He has also served as CEO of the company’s Europe Sub-Saharan Africa division. Nooyi played a key role in improving sales of Mountain Dew and Gatorade maker, expanding business interest to healthier drinks and forming tactical mergers to reshape the company. Her latest efforts were on boosting sales of its sodas through novel marketing strategies to beat rival Coca-Cola. Nooyi’s departure will be a setback for female CEOs whose number is fast shrinking. The number of female Fortune 500 chiefs has fallen from 32 last year to 24 this year — a 25% drop. This excludes Nooyi.
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