PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Stepping Down

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, one of the few women to lead a Fortune 500 company, has announced plans to step down on October 3.

Nooyi, 62, is slated to be replaced by Pepsi's Global Operations Chief Ramon Laguarta, 54, the company announced, according to a statement published online by PepsiCo.

The Pepsi CEO is expected to remain chair of the company's board of directors until early 2019 to "ensure a smooth and seamless transition," the company said.

As the head of Pepsi for 12 years, Nooyi has played a large role in leading the company toward becoming one of the most successful beverage and food corporations in the world.

According to PepsiCo, the CEO oversaw an 80 percent sales growth during her time at the company's helm.

"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, who has spent the last 24 years working under the PepsiCo label, said in a statement published online.

"Growing up in India, I never imagined I'd have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary company," she continued. "PepsiCo today is in a strong position for continued growth with its brightest days still ahead."

The Pepsi chief said she believed Laguarta "is exactly the right person" to build on the company's success.

"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," she said. "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."

Laguarta has held a number of executive and general management roles within PepsiCo over the past 22 years.

He is set to become the sixth CEO in PepsiCo's 53-year history, with all previous CEOs having been promoted from within the company.

Since September 2017, Laguarta had served as PepsiCo's president, "overseeing global operations, corporate strategy, public policy and government affairs," according to the company's press release.

Laguarta said he is "incredibly humbled and privileged to be appointed the next CEO of PepsiCo," in a statement shared by the company.

He also thanked Nooyi for her "overwhelming support," adding that she "transformed the company with her bold vision and outstanding leadership."

With Nooyi's departure and Laguarta's promotion, there will be only 24 women heading up Fortune 500 companies.

That number was at 32 just over a year ago, meaning the number of women leading the country's largest companies will have dropped by more than 20 percent, leaving less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies with a woman at the helm.