PepsiCo names new chief executiveThe Chennai girl hit headlines on Monday yet again when PepsiCo’s board of directors announced that it has elected Indra K Nooyi, 51, chairman of the board, effective May 2 when current executive chairman Steven S Reinemund, 58, retires.

Ms Nooyi is currently chief executive officer of the more than $32-billion global convenient food and beverage company, a role she assumed on October 1, 2006. She becomes the fifth chairman and chief executive officer in PepsiCo’s 42-year history, following Mr Reinemund (2001-2006), Roger A Enrico (1996-2001), Wayne D Calloway (1986-1996) and Donald M Kendall (1971-1986).

Herman W Lay served as PepsiCo’s first chairman (1965-1971), while Kendall served as chief executive officer. “I’m incredibly honoured by the board’s confidence and extraordinarily fortunate to follow in the footsteps of Steve Reinemund and all my illustrious predecessors,” said Ms Nooyi.

She joined PepsiCo in 1994 and directed worldwide strategy for over a decade. She was the primary architect of PepsiCo’s restructuring and transformation, including the merger with Quaker Oats and the acquisition of Tropicana, which added some of the world’s strongest health & wellness brands to PepsiCo’s portfolio.

She also led the divestiture of PepsiCo’s restaurants. Prior to being elected CEO last year, Mrs Nooyi served as president and chief financial officer. She was elected to PepsiCo’s board of directors in 2001. “PepsiCo is in extraordinarily gifted and capable hands,” said Reinemund.

“Indra’s record of transformational leadership is second to none. She and her team will take this great company to an unprecedented level of success and I look forward to continuing to cheer their continued achievements,” he added.

Perhaps the best description of Ms Nooyi came from the charismatic Roger Enrico who famously called Indra ‘a dog with the bone’. Back in ’01, Nooyi had got singer Don McLean at her residence to sing the hit song American Pie for Enrico — that’s his most memorable moment as far as Nooyi goes.

And what does Mr Enrico mean by a dog with the bone? “Oh, I said it in a positive way. What I meant was Indra is very tenacious. If she gets an idea, she goes after it. There’s no stopping her,” Mr Enrico had told ET last August when Ms Nooyi was elevated as the CEO of PepsiCo Inc.