Pepsi's first female CEO is stepping down after 12 years

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PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi

When Nooyi took the reigns, she was Pepsi's first foreign-born chief executive.

PepsiCo CEO and Chairman Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi will step down on October 3, after a 12-year stint.

Nooyi, 62, asked the board to begin preparing for her departure more than a year ago, reported WSJ.

Born to a Tamil family (her father was a banker and her mother was a housewife), she earned her Bachelor's degree from Madras Christian College in Chennai and later did her MBA from IIM-C.

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As a young girl, she played the guitar in a band and was also a member of an all-girls' cricket team. She worked with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Motorola and Asea Brown Boveri. The couple has two daughters. Prior to that, he was president, PepsiCo Eastern Europe region and served in a variety of sales, marketing and other commercial roles across Europe.

In her climb to the top, 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.

She will be replaced by Ramon Laguarta, who will become the beverage maker's sixth CEO. In 2014, she was ranked at number 13 on the Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women and was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015.

Under her leadership, Pepsi put more of a focus on sustainability, launching its "Performance with Purpose" programme that saw it develop healthier products, reduce its environmental footprint and investing more in its community. Nooyi implemented a strategy of acquiring and developing more healthful products and beverages, with somewhat mixed results, and fended off pressure to break up the company from activist investor Nelson Peltz, of Trian Fund Management.

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She ramped up R&D spending at the company and sent researchers to India to study ayurvedic medicine and Africa and the Amazon jungles to learn about ancient grains, berries and plants.

Often choosing to wear the traditional sari at corporate events, Ms Nooyi is proud of her Indian background, once saying: "Although I'm a daughter of India, I'm an American businesswoman".

Nooyi has been with Pepsi for 24 long years. She also led its restructuring, including the divestiture of its restaurant business into Yum! He also formerly led PepsiCo's Eastern European operations. In 2013, she was named one of the "25 Greatest Global Living Legends" by NDTV.

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