The India-born Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business chain in the world, has consistently figured among the world’s 100 most powerful women.
“One of the world’s biggest public health challenges, a challenge fundamentally linked to our industry: obesity.”
Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi, the India-born American business executive and the current Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business in the world, has consistently figured in the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2004, she was ranked 13 in the list of Forbes world’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
Nooyi was born in Madras in 1955, and was educated in Holy Angels Anglo Indian School. She got her bachelor’s degree from Madras Christian College in 1974, and PG Diploma in Management from IIM Calcutta in 1976.
She began her career in India, held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell. She joined Yale School of Management in 1978 and earned a master’s degree in Public and Private Management. While at Yale, she completed her summer internship with Booz Allen Hamilton. Graduating in 1980, Nooyi joined Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and held strategic positions at Motorola and Asea Brown Bovery.
This iconic woman joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named President and CFO in 2001. Nooyi has directed the company’s global strategy for more than a decade now and led PepsiCo’s restructuring, including the 1997 divestiture of its restaurants into Tricon, now known as Yum! Brands. Nooyi was also instrumental in acquiring Tropicana (1998) and the merger with Quaker. In 2006, she became the fifth CEO in PepsiCo’s 44-year history. She was named the 3rd Most Powerful Woman in Business by Fortune in 2014.
Since she started as CFO in 2001, the company’s annual net profit has risen from $2.7 billion to $6.5 billion.
Nooyi’s strategic redirection of her company has been largely successful. She reclassified PepsiCo’s products into three categories: ‘Fun for You’ (potato chips and regular soda), ‘Better for You’ (diet or low-fat versions of snacks and sodas), and ‘Good for You’ (oatmeal). She moved corporate spending away from junk foods and into the healthier alternatives. In 2015, Nooyi removed aspartame from Diet Pepsi, furthering the shift towards healthier foods.
Nooyi was named on Wall Street Journal’s list of 50 women to watch in 2007 and 2008, and was listed among Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2007 and 2008. Forbes named her the No. 3 Most Powerful Woman in 2008. In 2014, she was ranked No. 13 by Forbes. Fortune ranked her the No. 1 Most Powerful Woman in business in 2009 and 2010. In October 2010, Fortune ranked her the 6th Most Powerful Woman in the world. In Fortune’s Most Powerful Women List of September 2015, Nooyi ranked 2nd. Forbes ranked Nooyi on the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 lists of the World’s Most Powerful Women. Fortune named her No. 1 on its annual ranking of Most Powerful Women in business for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2008, Nooyi was named one of America’s Best Leaders by US News & World Report. In 2008, she was elected to the Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
“Indra Nooyi reclassified PepsiCo’s products into three categories: ‘Fun for You’, ‘Better for You’, and ‘Good for You’. “
In 2008, Nooyi was elected Chairwoman of the US-India Business Council (USIBC). She leads USIBC’s Board of Directors, an assembly of more than 60 senior executives representing a cross-section of American industry.
Nooyi was named 2009 CEO of the Year by Global Supply Chain Leaders Group, and in the same year, was considered one of ‘The Top Gun CEOs’ by Brendan Wood International. She was also named in the Institutional Investor’s Best CEOs list in the All-America Executive Team Survey in 2008 to 2011. The prestigious Yale School of Management will name its deanship in honour of the PepsiCo CEO, becoming the school’s biggest alumni donor and the first woman to endow a deanship at a top B-school.
Nooyi is a Successor Fellow of the Yale Corporation. She serves as a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, International Rescue Committee, Catalyst and the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships, and is an Honorary Co-Chair for World Justice Project.
Nooyi has two daughters, and resides in Greenwich, Connecticut. Forbes even ranked her at the 3rd spot among ‘World’s Powerful Moms’ list. Her older sister is singer Chandrika Krishnamurty Tandon.
She was once asked if it was true that her mother had prompted her to get 100 per cent in mathematics. Nooyi had this to say: “That is typical southern Brahmin stuff. I think that she was genetically programmed for that. The entire family focused on grades. When parents got together they only compared the report cards of their kids. The general refrain would be, ‘So how is your child doing’, ‘what rank’. That was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.”