PepsiCo said this week that Indra Nooyi will step down in October after 12 years as chief executive.
During her tenure revenues rose by 80% to over $63bn, though rival Coca Cola delivered bigger gains in market capitalisation.
Ms. Nooyi presciently invested in healthier offerings, offsetting weakness in sales of sugary products.
She fended off activist investors who demanded a break-up.
She was one of the first Asian Americans to run an American giant, helping to shatter a "bamboo ceiling".
When she took the top job, roughly 2% of Fortune 500 firms were run by women, a figure that has crept up to less than 5% today.
Ramon Laguarta, an inside man at PepsiCo, will succeed her.