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Nooyi, 62, will step down on 3 October, 2018, after a 24-year stint with the company.

In her climb to CEO, she had a major hand in re-shaping PepsiCo - helping it to spin off its interest in Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell while a top executive at the company.

Her departure also leaves only one woman of color among the 23 - Geisha Williams of utility company PG&E Corp - with the rest being white, according to the magazine.

He was elevated to president in September of past year and was widely expected to succeed Nooyi, though at the time of his appointment Nooyi said she would remain CEO "for the foreseeable future". "We have to keep fighting the good fight to develop women, to mentor them, to support them, so that we can get more highly qualified women - and there's plenty of them - into the boardroom, into C suites and into the ultimate CEO job".

Meanwhile, Ian Cook, PepsiCo's presiding director, lauded Indra's contributions to the growth of the company.

"Today is a day of mixed emotions for me". More recently, she was a supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign, and confessed after her defeat in the election that she found herself having to "answer a lot of questions, from my daughters, from my employees - they were all in mourning". During her tenure, PepsiCo built its "good for you" and "better for you" products from about 38 percent of revenue in 2006 to roughly 50 percent in 2017. "I'm proud of what we've done and excited for the future", tweeted Indra Nooyi. Prior to that, Laguarta served in leadership positions in the European and sub-Saharan Africa divisions.

Nooyi will continue as chairman of the board until early 2019. "That will not change", Nooyi, 62, said in an e-mailed statement, a few hours after the USA firm announced that she is stepping down.

Nooyi is stepping down after 12 years at the helm of Pepsi. In 2007, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India.

Under her leadership, PepsiCo net revenues rose from $35 billion in 2006 to $63.5 billion in 2017, with much of the growth coming from worldwide markets.

Nooyi will officially leave her post October 3.

Under her, PepsiCo began focussing on products that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and gave an emphasis on less sugar and fat.

Nooyi was born in Chennai, India, and moved to the U.S. in 1978 when she entered the Yale School of Management.

She also fended off a challenge from activist investor Nelson Peltz, who took a stake in the company in late 2012 after the firm had downgraded its profit forecasts.


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