Of the Fortune 500 companies, only 25 have female CEOs. That number is about to be one fewer now that Indra Nooyi, the India-born CEO of PepsiCo, has announced she’ll be resigning in October. She will be replaced by Ramon Laguarta, Pepsi’s global operations chief.
Nooyi, 62, helped the company skyrocket to success, growing sales 80 percent during her 12 years as CEO. She earned $31 million last year and $87 million over the last three, according to company records. Nooyi has been credited with transitioning the company toward more environmentally friendly initiatives, as well as pushing Pepsi to develop healthier snack options to cater to more health-conscious customers.
Nooyi has not led without controversy. Her recent decision to launch a “lady-friendly” Dorito chip — sans crunch and finger-staining crumbs — was met with a collective scream from the internet, particularly her description of why women’s Doritos might be necessary (i.e., because women “don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers,” in contrast with men, who “lick their fingers with great glee”).
Nooyi is among several prominent female CEOs who have decided to step down in the past couple years; Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Hewlett Packard’s Meg Whitman, and Irene Rosenfeld of Mondelez have also resigned, reducing 2017’s record high of women Fortune 500 CEOs from 32 to 24.
In a Twitter statement, Nooyi wrote, “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.”