Indra Nooyi, one of the most powerful leaders of a Fortune 500 company, is stepping down after 12 years as PepsiCo’s CEO. Nooyi was the second highest paid women CEO, earning $25.9 million. Statistics show that less than 5% of Fortune 500 leaders are women, and even less are people of color. Nooyi was a successful leader who broke stereotypes in her 24 years total at Pepsi. During her time at PepsiCo, Nooyi accounted for an 80% growth in sales with a heavy focus on environmental safety. She earned $87 million over the last three years. She is recognized as an incredible CEO who grew PepsiCo by leaps and bounds.
In just over a year, the number of women in top jobs at Fortune 500 companies has dropped from 32 to 24- over 20% in just a year. The 32 female CEOS reported in 2017 was a record breaking statistic. This number had been gradually increasing for years and has been hit hard in the last 12 months. More than a third of women have left their CEO jobs. Nooyi is following other top women as well- Campbell Soup’s Denise Morrison retired last month as did Meg Whitman of Hewlett Packard. While these statistics are lower than they should be, there are some women entering the list as well. Ulta Beauty, Kohl’s, and Anthem are all companies that have gained women CEO’s recently. Further, despite holding the same title as their counterparts, women CEOs still earn less than male CEOs. The highest earning female CEO in 2017 was Margaret Georgiadis of Mattel at $31.1 million, while the highest paid male, Hock Tan of Broadcom, earned over $103 million. This disparity is something women in business have seen for ages and will continue to fight.
With another woman leaving the Fortune 500, statistics are looking more and more grim. Women have always faced adversity in business and will likely continue to do so until major changes are made. Nooyi was an glowing example of what a successful women in business looks like. As both a woman and a minority, she has created an opportunity and become an inspiration for other women in business. I am eager to see next years statistics, and hope to see a rise in number of women dominating the Fortune 500.