PepsiCo Inc said on Monday that chief executive Indra Nooyi will assume the additional title of chairwoman of the soft drink and snack food company. As its CEO, she was already one of the highest ranked women leaders in corporate America.
Nooyi takes the second title effective May 2 at the retirement of former CEO Steven Reinemund as chairman. She succeeded him as CEO on Oct. 1.
With PepsiCo Inc ranked No. 61 on the Fortune 500, Nooyi ranks No. 2 among 10 female CEOs of the biggest US companies. Only Patricia Woertz ranks higher as chief of Archer Daniels Midland Co, which is No. 56 on the list, according to the Catalyst organization.
Nooyi, 51, has been at PepsiCo since 1994.
She has been credited with shifting the company to build a portfolio of healthier foods, including the acquisition of the Quaker Oats and Tropicana brands.
Before she became CEO, she served as president and chief financial officer. She was first named a board member in 2001.
PepsiCo owns the Pepsi soft drink and the Frito-Lay snack food businesses.
"I'm incredibly honored by the board's confidence," Nooyi said in a statement released on Monday.
The company is the No. 2 soft drink maker after rival Coca-Cola Co and has been adding beverages to expand its non-carbonated soft drink offerings.
It sells water under the Aquafina brand and has bought the maker of sparkling fruit drink Izze. In snacks, it has acquired the companies that make Stacy's Pita Chips and Mother's Natural Cereals. It has also started selling a protein drink called Fuelosophy and Sun Snacks chips at certain Whole Foods market locations.
PepsiCo first announced last August that Reinemund was retiring to spend more time with his family.
Reinemund, 58, served as CEO for five years. He has worked at Purchase, New York-based PepsiCo for 23 years.
At the time, analysts said the announcement had surprised them given Reinemund's comparatively short tenure as CEO. He was just the company's fourth chairman and chief executive in the company's 42-year history.
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