Pepsi's longtime chief executive, Indra Nooyi, is stepping down after 12 years leading the company, PepsiCo announced Monday.
Nooyi has spent almost a quarter-century with the food and beverage giant, which includes iconic brands such as Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Tropicana.
Just under five percent of Fortune 500 companies currently have a female CEO.
Nooyi will be replaced by President Ramon Laguarta, who will be just the sixth president in the company's 53-year history.
"Leading PepsiCo has truly been the honor of my lifetime, and I'm incredibly proud of all we have done," said Nooyi in a statement.
"Growing up in India, I never imagined I'd have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary company. We've made a more meaningful impact in people's lives than I ever dreamed possible," she said, citing the firm's corporate sustainability initiatives and community impact.
Barcelona-born Laguarta "has a deep understanding of the changing preferences of consumers and other critical trends unfolding around the world," said Nooyi, who steered the company away from its core soda business and led an expansion into soft drinks, snacks, and healthier options.
Ian Cook, speaking for Pepsi's board, said, "As CEO, [Nooyi] grew revenue more than 80 percent, outperforming our peers and adding a new billion-dollar brand almost every other year."
"$1,000 invested in PepsiCo in 2006 is worth more than two-and-a-half times that amount today," he noted.
"Indra has transformed the company with her bold vision and outstanding leadership, and I feel fortunate to have her as a mentor and a friend," said Laguarta.
Nooyi will step down in October but will stay on as chairman until early 2019.