What company makes Sabra Hummus

The head of Pepsico says goodbye after twelve years

Indra Nooyi, the first woman and first CEO with foreign roots at the helm of the snack and beverage company, leaves. Her successor is 54-year-old Laguarta as the sixth CEO of the company founded 53 years ago.

There has been a lot of movement in senior management in the US food industry over the past two years. More than a dozen heads of US corporations such as Campbell Soup, General Mills, Mondelez International, Kellogg, Hersey and Coca-Cola have left their places. The change of baton was not always entirely voluntary. Changed consumer behavior, anemic core business growth, and pressure from investors have all weighed on industry leaders.

Departure with love

Now Indra Nooyi, the boss of Pepsico, has announced her retirement. After twelve years at the helm of the manufacturer of beverages such as Pepsi, Gatorade or Mountain Dew and snacks such as Doritos Chips, Sabra Hummus or Cheetos, the 62-year-old makes way for Ramon Laguarta, who was appointed president in autumn and has since been a promising candidate for was the top job. Nooyi asked the board of directors a year ago to develop the plan for her successor, according to the US media, citing insiders. "I had a wonderful time as CEO, but there comes a time when you sit back and say, look, it's the right step to initiate a handover now," Nooyi said in parting.

The 54-year-old Laguarta will take over responsibility as the sixth CEO of the company founded 53 years ago on October 3rd and will also replace Nooyi as chairman next year. Born in Spain, he has worked for Pepsico for more than 20 years and was also responsible for European business, among other things. Nooyi, who is the first woman and also the first CEO with foreign roots to lead the company, has no concrete plans for the time after her 24-year career at Pepsico, but wants to promote the development of female executives. First of all, she will go on vacation, watch the New York Yankees baseball team, listen to music and go for a walk in the woods, the manager says about her short-term goals.

Pepsico and Coca-Cola races

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“Indra's legacy is that in a difficult environment, she understood how to run a great company in such a way that it achieved strong results and did good at the same time,” explains Blair Effron of Centerview Partners. The investment bank acts as an advisor on takeovers. Under Nooyi, however, there was little to gain for M&A advisors. Over the years she has expanded her portfolio with investments such as the hummus manufacturer Sabra, a joint venture with the dairy product manufacturer Almarai from Saudi Arabia, and the takeover of Amacoco, a Brazilian manufacturer of coconut water.

One of Nooyi's largest acquisitions was Russian milk and juice producer Wimm-Bill-Dann, for which Pepsico put more than $ 5 billion on the table in 2010. A trend-setting deal did not materialize. Instead, the activist Trian Management called for the beverage business to be spun off after the group surprised investors three times in 2011 and 2012 with profit warnings. It was only two years ago that the hedge fund said goodbye to shareholders.

Resinous core business

Laguarta could soon be confronted with similar demands if it does not succeed in spicing up its ailing core business in North America, where the consumption of fizzy beverages has now reached its lowest level in 30 years. A few months ago, Laguarta announced that the company would review options for its bottling plants. Last year there was speculation that the Brazilian financial investor 3G Capital could thread a takeover of Pepsico, in which the snacks would go to Kraft Heinz and the drinks to AB InBev, both of which are controlled by 3G Capital.