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    Indra Nooyi marked a new era of history in the corporate world as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. She is the first Indian woman to become CEO of a giant conglomerate with diversified food and beverage brands selling all over the globe; bringing smile and joy on millions of faces. She was on top in the checklist of all major food and beverage companies as CEO.Right now she is the role model for all Indian managers who are at the first step of the corporate ladder.

Since 1994, Nooyitook up different roles and transformed PepsiCo into the world’s leader in food and beverages; with a turnover of around $43bn. Her boundless hard work, strong determination, apt and quick decision making and ability to connect the circumstances in the  corporate and the outside world pushed PepsiCo way beyond imagination into 19 product lines like Quaker Oats, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Pepsi-cola. It is nothing amazing to tell that PepsiCo products entered the shelves of every family in 200 countries. This all happend because of concrete long lived vision of Mrs.Nooyi.

After joining PepsiCo in 1994, Nooyitook up role of President and the Chief Financial Officer in 2001 and Chief Executive Officer on 14th August 2006 as fifth CEO in forty one -year history of PepsiCo.

Top on compensation
Nooyiis the top-paid woman on the Forbes 2010 list, with $19.53 million in compensation in 2010, which was prestigious to PepsiCo.

The Indian origin CEO of PepsiCo was stated to earn 81 times more than the world’s richest man Warren Buffet, in 2007 by search firm Equilar for the New York Times. At that time Nooyi’s compensation was $14.74mn.

More about Nooyi 



28 October 1955 (age 55)





United States

Alma mater


Madras Christian College
IIM Calcutta
Yale School of Management



Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo



Steven Reinemund





Padma Bhushan
2007 with her Grandfather, Sister and brother  
Indra Nooyi spent her childhood in Chennai.Her
life has been very simple and straight forward. Nooyiwas born (in1955, Chennai) and brought up in a typical south Indian Brahmin family. Her parents educated her in Indian standards. Her mother imbibed her with Indian tradition and culture and always encouraged her to be what she wanted to be. Her father worked at the State Bank of Hyderabad and her grandfather was a district judge. She did her BSc. in Chemistry from Madras Christian College and subsequently earned a Master's Degree in Finance and Marketing from IIM Calcutta. Indra Nooyi also holds a Master's Degree in Public and Private management from the Yale School of Management.

Nooyi with her daughterIn spite of reaching highest peaks in career; she shows exemplary simplicity and perseverance. She is highly energetic woman who is capable of managing all her responsibilities equally well of a mother and a wife. She lives with her husband Mr.Raj Nooyiand her two daughters in Fairfax County, Connecticut.

Awards and recognition   At its 2009 commencement, Barnard College awarded Nooyi the Barnard Medal of Honour, the College's highest award. Forbes magazine ranked Nooyi third on the 2008 and 2009 list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women. Fortune magazine has named Nooyi number one on its annual ranking of Most Powerful Women in business for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2008, Nooyi was named one of America's Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. In 2007, she was chosen as a recipient of the ‘Padma Bhushan’ award by the Government of India. In 2008, she was elected to the Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In January 2008, she was elected Chairperson of the US-India Business Council. Indra Nooyi has been named 2009 CEO of the Year by Global Supply Chain Leaders Group.

Career Outlook
Before joining PepsiCo in 1994, Indra Nooyi was Senior Vice President of Strategy and Strategic Marketing for Asea Brown Boveri, and Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning at Motorola. She extended her services at Mettur Beardsell and Johnson & Johnson.

At the time when Nooyibegan her career journey at PepsiCo as SVP, Roger Enrico was the chairman and CEO of Frito-Lay.Roger was asked to take charge of PepsiCo’s worldwide restaurant business chain which included Pizzahut, Taco –Bell and KFC; were running at a very slow pace with diminished sales volumes and unaccountable profits. To deal this typical situation Roger and Nooyiworked together. Both of them put up their enormous efforts, experience and after a tedious research they arrived at a solution that there was a mismatch between PepsiCo’s adopted model of restaurant business; which resembled management and distribution model suitable for packaged goods industry rather than a services industry.

As a great strategist and a quick & powerful decision-maker; she took a major role in spin-off of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC; which were popular food brands in USA. Roger Enrico was against this decision; but Nooyimanaged to persuade him. Nooyiherself being a big fan of Tropicana juice, was sure that acquiring Tropicana would turnaround PepsiCo.  She steered the takeover of Tropicana for $3.3bn in 1998. This major decision gave a breakthrough to both PepsiCo and Nooyi. This move did not increase profit margins remarkably. So, Nooyi has to think of different strategies to turnaround PepsiCo. Nooyi and Quaker Oats executives; when PepsiCo Purchased Quaker Oats in 2001

Later after a thorough scrutiny; she made the following major moves like buying two bottling companies; PepsiAmericas (PAS) and Pepsi Bottling Group (PBC), which approximately produced $300 million.

As the consumer interests were shifting to consuming health conscious- foods; keeping in view consumer interests Nooyi headed the merger of Quaker Oats for $13bn.All these moves shot up PepsiCo’s margins and paved way for Nooyi to become the company’s fifth CEO as a successor to Steve Reinemund in 2006.

Nooyirestructured PepsiCo into a giant conglomerate in food and beverages industry with 19 product lines, consumers in 200 countries, and 300,000 employees worldwide. Since 2000, after Nooyi became Chief Financial officer, the companies annual revenues raised to 72% and the net profit doubled to $5.6bn last year. PepsiCo emerged as an unbeatable food and beverage company of the world under the leadership of Nooyi.

Nooyi is taking different angles of thought to sustain this multi-year growth model;by investing more on R&D to come up with products with absolutely little sugar or no sugar, making products with low fat and low sodium content enhancing health of people. Cultivating organic crops in different parts of the planet and innovatively and scientifically using them in their own products.Wise use of energy, water and packaging material to protect the environment. Employing diverse work force.Emhasizing on multi-grain snacks and vitamin enriched water would not only push up nutritive values but also investors benefits.

Different streaks of Nooyi
Being herself
Nooyilanded in USA for her masters in Yale University at the age of 23.Having come from a middle class family; she had to work through out the night as a receptionist to support her financial requirements to pursue her higher education. Being an immigrant, being a woman and having dark skin made her journey three times harder. But she worked as much hard to achieve her life ambitions. After her masters, when she attended her first interview; she was not comfortable with her western outfit and got rejected. For the next interview she wore a sari in which she was comfortable and got the offer. This incident thought her a lesson “to be herself”; which she followed for the rest of her life. She was so secure in herself; and she doesn’t have to be American to play in corporate life. Her hard work rouse her to be most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.

Broke the glass ceiling
In 1994, Nooyijoined in PepsiCo as VP of corporate strategy and development. She made her way to the high position of the corporate by making powerful decisions, broad outlook, keen perception and high implementation and negotiating skills. She did work harder than male counterpart. After 12yrs of hard work; she proved herself breaking the glass ceiling and was announced as CEO of PepsiCo in 2006

Her empathy
She attributes her success to all the employees of Pepsi. She says for a company to run at top speed it has to retain its best employees. She always advices her employees to maintain work-life balance. She helped her employees in all possible ways and didn’t mind guiding them from boardroom to front office. She always spent time in writing thank you letters to spouses and parents of all her employees. She always considered employees as her extended family and maintained an open- door policy.

Her traditions and beliefs
She had lot of traditions and beliefs which she inherited from her home country, India. She keeps image of Ganesh in her office. Shoes are not allowed into her big pooja room at her home at Connecticut. She says after hours of tedious work, when she closes her eyes and thinks of temples like “Tirupathi”; Hinduism floats and her mind calms down. Some PepsiCo officials who visited India got Ganesh idols and were told of Hindu belief about Ganesh being the symbol of auspicious beginnings. Nooyiattends PepsiCo board meetings in a sari; for she believes the corporate world appreciates people who are genuine.

Her work-life balance
Although she is stressed out at the office taking crucial decisions; which involve millions of dollars and future of a company; as she moves out of office she calms down. She enjoys listening to Carnatic music at home. She always says “First I am a mother, then a wife, then a daughter-in-law and at last a CEO”. She spends time in watching basketball matches of Chicago bulls. She was in rock band and cricket team while in college. She enjoys singing karaoke in company parties. She always was thankful to her husband for being behind her success.
Indra Nooyi’s success formulae

Pepsico’s president summed up success with simple ideals, perspicacity and conviction.

From her roots in Chennai, where she grew up, Indra Nooyi hitched her career aspirations to a star and has emerged as one of the most recognised icons of corporate success to originate from India, being cited among rankings of global corporate achievers.   “There are no limits to what you can do”. True success is being happy with yourself, is being fulfilled. And that comes from devoting your time, your life, to doing what you love the most” The core of the concept of success lies in knowing “what you want to do in life” and those who have triumphed at “figuring out” that issue should consider themselves “tremendously blessed”. “What’s important is trying to be the best and working to get there. And that’s how you fulfill your potential.” “Never stop learning” regardless of one’s age, and such  learning should not be restricted to academic knowledge, but be supplemented with “street smarts” and being aware of matters and issues in the real  world. Keep that natural curiosity”. “Keep an open mind”. “An important attribute of success is to “be yourself,” Never hide what makes you.” The central pillar of success rests on three important factors, which Indra Nooyi cites as, “family, friends and faith”. Prosperity and comforts notwithstanding, “when things look bleak and uncertain, it’s your family, friends and faith that pull you through….And when I’m wrestling with change in my life, good or bad, the  first place I turn to, is my religion. I tell you, it really helps  

Leadership Strategies of Nooyi

She believes that each one of PepsiCo’s 18,000 employees is a leader. She credits that a culture that recognizes hard work and encourages initiative. She names five skills that she believes are the hallmarks of good leaders: 

Competence. You must be an expert in your function or area of expertise. You will become known for that.

Take a Stand. You must be known for your courage and confidence to act and say what you believe is right.

Communication Skills. Communication skills are critical. You can never over-invest in them.

Coaching. Surround yourself with good mentors. Listen. Learn. Your mentor is a major force.

Your Moral Compass. Have the strength and courage to do what’s morally right, not what’s expedient. Your moral compass must be your true north.

Glance of various interviews
Nooyirepresented PepsiCo and spoke about different issues in interviews with different media and built up awareness of people about the PepsiCo products and future strategies that the company in implementing in interest of consumers, investors, employees and competitors. Here are random picks of few interviews.

When asked about obesity issue:

You've said that Pepsi should be part of the solution, not the cause, of obesity. How are you and PepsiCo planning to go about that?


If all consumers exercised, did what they had to do, the problem of obesity wouldn't exist. But because society has changed so much, I think we can also be part of the solution by transforming our portfolio.

For example, the scientists invented a micro-crystallized salt that could reduce sodium in Lays chips by as much as 25%."good-for-you" products like Quaker, Tropicana, Naked Juice, and Gatorade. We are putting a lot of R&D dollars behind developing more "good-for-you" products that taste great and we're also investing in new sweeteners and salt-reduction technologies to make our "fun-for-you" products better for you. So we've made the investments and we've made it work within the portfolio.
When asked about PepsiCo’s growth in this economic environment:

We've also seen tremendous fluctuations in the commodity markets, particularly the price of sugar really skyrocketing. How has that impacted the umbrella of PepsiCo's businesses?

Regular sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup is really used in countries like Mexico, certain Latin American countries and certain Asian countries and the Middle East. In most other parts of the world, we use high fructose corn syrup. So, the price of high fructose corn syrup hasn't gone up that much.

Sugar prices clearly have gone up and where sugar prices have gone up, clearly the input costs in those countries do go up because where there's full sugar Pepsi, sugar prices go up. But Diet Pepsi's also such a big part of our portfolio. So, as the diet drinks, you know, grow much faster than regular sugar drinks, I think overall the portfolio seems to be working. 

When asked about managing career and family simultaneously:

Tell us about how you are able to manage family and career and what advice would you give to women who are just beginning their careers?

We all know it doesn’t happen on its own, and like any working woman, it’s a constant challenge to balance my family and my career. By the way, I’d say the same goes for working men as well. In fact, your choice of spouse is key. In my case, my husband, busy with his own career, has been incredibly supportive and that has made a huge difference. Sometimes I’ve been more successful at balancing than other times, but it requires a great deal of attention every day. What matters most is to treat the need for balance as a priority, with a corresponding, conscious effort. I am a big believer in collaboration in all things, and my advice would be to keep reaching out—to friends, family, co-workers, whomever—don’t feel you must go it alone. See what’s working for others and keep building the set of tools you can use to actively manage the balance that works for you.