PepsiCo Inc has appointed Ramon Laguarta to take over as chief executive from Indra Nooyi, handing the reins to a veteran who led the company's fast-growing emerging markets business.
Laguarta, who starts on 3rd October, will be tasked with managing the company's response as consumer tastes move away from sugary drinks.
Nooyi, 62, is stepping down after 24 years at PepsiCo, where she held a variety of roles, including her most recent 12 years as CEO. Her departure also leaves only one woman of colour among Fortune 500 CEOs.
Laguarta will be PepsiCo's sixth CEO in its 53-year history.
"Ramon Laguarta is exactly the right person to help build on @PepsiCo's strong position and success. He has been a critical partner and friend and I am positive that he will take PepsiCo to new and greater heights in the years to come," Nooyi tweeted on Monday.
A 22-year veteran of PepsiCo, Laguarta oversaw global operations, corporate strategy, public policy and government affairs in his role as president.
The Spaniard previously headed the company's Europe Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA) division - a unit PepsiCo characterized as "one of the most complex business divisions in the company," due to its mix of both developed and emerging markets.
Laguarta, 54, was named the president of the company in September last year and was tipped to succeed Nooyi. He also formerly led PepsiCo's Eastern European operations.
"With a deep understanding of PepsiCo's international operations, and a broader understanding of the total company portfolio in his role as president, we believe that Laguarta is well-placed to continue executing on PepsiCo's current strategy," Cowen & Co analysts said.
PepsiCo's shares were up 1.6% in morning trading on Monday, touching a seven-month high of $118.21 earlier in the session.
Nooyi is the third female CEO to leave a Fortune 500 company in the last one year after Denise Morrison quit Campbell Soup in May and Irene Rosenfeld stepped down as the head of Oreo-cookie maker Mondelez International Inc in August 2017.
That leaves only 23 female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, representing less than 5% of the total, according to the Fortune magazine.