PepsiCo this week named Indra Nooyi to become its chief executive officer on October first. The food and drink company is the world's second-largest soft drink maker, behind Coca-Cola. Miz Nooyi will join just ten other women as CEOs among the five hundred largest companies in the United States.
The fifty-year-old executive was born and raised in India; she sometimes wears a traditional sari at events.
She came to the United States in nineteen seventy-eight. She has graduate business degrees from Yale University and the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta.
Indra Nooyi started with PepsiCo twelve years ago. She led negotiations for the purchase of Quaker Oats and also helped the company buy juice maker Tropicana.
She became president and chief financial officer of PepsiCo in two thousand one. Now she will replace Steve Reinemund, who has led the company since that time. He is retiring. Under his leadership PepsiCo passed Coca-Cola last year in stock market value.
PepsiCo had sales last year of almost thirty-three thousand million dollars.
Miz Nooyi is the latest in a growing number of foreign-born executives to lead international companies based in the United States. It appears her climb has not been affected by a graduation speech she gave last year at the Columbia Business School in New York. Her statements offended some people. She talked about the United States as the "long middle finger" on a hand representing different parts of the world. Critics said she insulted the United States. PepsiCo offered an apology.
PepsiCo has been expanding its foreign markets. But a dispute in her own homeland could serve as the first test for Indra Nooyi as chief executive.
A group in New Delhi says PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are misleading people about the safety of their soft drinks in India. The Center for Science and Environment recently tested different drinks made by the two companies. It says the tests found high levels of pesticides in all fifty-seven bottles collected nationwide.
Poisons used on farms and in homes can enter groundwater.
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola say their products are safe and meet Indian and international health rules.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Jill Moss. You can read and listen to archives of our reports at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Faith Lapidus.