PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Takes Shot at Coke on Her Last DayTop Stories

October 03, 2018 16:26
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Takes Shot at Coke on Her Last Day

(Image source from: Houston Style Magazine)

An Indian-origin Chief Executive Officer of Pepsico Indra Nooyi, took a pop shot at Coca-Cola on her last day on the job, although only industry insiders may have noticed.

Nooyi, responding to a question on the company's earnings call over its future plans with Starbucks, said, "The only thing we are not going to do again is the restaurant business."

"I can promise you that was meant as a shot at Coke," an industry source said.

Coca-Cola has agreed to acquire coffee chain Costa Coffee for $5 billion, and Costa competes with McDonald's, a big Coke customer.

Coke dominates the restaurant soda business, and Pepsi would like to break into McDonald's 37,000 restaurants.

"Nooyi wanted to let others know that it does not compete with its customers," a second source said.

When Nooyi initially joined Pepsi in 1994, the soda and snack giant owned restaurants, and Coke did not.

According to sources, Coca-Cola used that as a wedge to win business from restaurants PepsiCo was serving.

Nooyi in 1997, as a Pepsi chief strategist, led the spin-off of its restaurant business that included Pizza Hut, KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Taco Bell (now called Yum!), removing its conflict of interest.

The company said on Tuesday that beverage sales in North America rose after a year of declines and as investments in marketing paid off.

Nooyi will step down as Pepsi's CEO on Wednesday, handing the reins to company President Ramon Laguarta. Nooyi will remain on as chairwoman until early 2019.

The company's shares fell 1.8 percent Tuesday, to $108.72.

-Sowmya Sangam

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PepsiCo  Coco-Cola  Indra Nooyi