Indra Nooyi: Virtuoso behind "Performance with a Purpose"

Indra Nooyi: Virtuoso behind ?Performance with a Purpose?

One of the most popular Entrepreneur - Indra  Nooyi  is an India American  business executive. She is the former and most renowned  Chief  Executive Officer (CEO) of PepsiCo. In 2008, Nooyi was elected as the chairwomen of  the US-India Business Council. In 2009,she was named as the 'TopGun CEOs' by Brendan Wood  International. Nooyi was awarded  by the former President of  India  Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati  Bhavan  in 2013. She was ranked #13 on Forbes site of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and was ranked as #2 on Fortune’s list of most Powerful Women in the year 2014. Know to be a highly innovative, energetic, and hardworking person.  Nooyi also serves as a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, International Rescue Committee, Catalyst and the Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships. She is the former chairperson of the U.S India Business Council. She is also an honorary co-chair for the World Justice Project and also serves as a member on Amazon’s board of directors. Alongside, she is a successor fellow of the Yale Corporation and is the first female director on the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Tales recalling days of yore

Indra Nooyi was born in Chennai and completed her schooling in Holy Angels Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School in T. Nagar. She went on to complete her graduation from Madras Christian College in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Along with this, she also completed a post-graduate programme and a master’s degree in Public and Private Management in 1980 from Yale School of Management. After her studies, she joined the Boston Consulting Group in 1980 as a strategy consultant. During working life, she once mentioned that she had to work  harder than her male counterparts to prove that she was worthy of the job. But she made sure to never compromise with the quality of  her  work. She  admits to be rebellious streak as a young girl and she used to play cricket  and was also in an all- girl rock band, where she played guitar.

Pathway to Success

 Nooyi's first job was with Tootal, a British textile company in India and eventually she moved on with Johnson & Johnson as a product manager. Job with Johnson & Johnson was quite a challenging one as she was made responsible for managing the introduction of Stayfree sanitary napkins to India. At that time advertising for feminine hygiene products was banned in the country . Nooyi managed to introduce the products to young women by directly marketing to female students at schools and colleges.Her experience at Johnson & Johnson made her realize that she was still unprepared for the business world, and thus she decided to pursue further education. She moved to the United States to join Yale School of Management in 1978 and pursued a master's degree in Public and Private Management. She thoroughly enjoyed her learning experience at Yale and graduated in 1980. After getting her degree, she joined the Boston Consulting Group as a director of international corporate strategy projects. In this position, she worked on a variety of strategy projects for the next six years. She changed her job yet again in 1990, this time accepting the post of senior vice president and director of corporate strategy and strategic marketing at Asea Brown Boveri (ABB).

She proved to be a great success at this job and by the mid-1990s, she was aggressively being courted by corporate head hunters and offered  many positions in some of the world’s largest companies. In 1994, Nooyi joined Pepsico as a senior vice president of corporate strategy development. Within a few years, her skills and determination earned the position of being appointed as president and chief financial officer of the company. She went to conduct some major restructuring of the company. With insightful strategies in place, she had Pepsico witness a spin-off of its restaurants including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell- into Tricon Global Restaurants, now known as Yum Brands, Which is today one of the world's largest fast food restaurant companies. By the change of food preferences from the consumers, she felt that it was important for PepsiCo to expand into more healthful snack options. In keeping up with this belief, she led PepsiCo’s acquisition of Tropicana and the merger with Quaker Oats Company. Both of these ventures proved to be highly profitable to the company.In recognition of her impressive work with the company, Nooyi was promoted to chief financial officer in 2000 and the president in 2001. In 2006, PepsiCo CEO Steve Reinemund retired and Nooyi became the fifth CEO in PepsiCo's 44-year history. Nooyi's strategic redirection of PepsiCo, called Performance with a Purpose, has been largely successful and involved creating long-term growth while leaving a positive impact on society and the environment.

Achievements and Accolades

She has consistently ranked on ‘Forbes’ magazine’s list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women. ’Fortune’ magazine named Indra Nooyi No.1 on its annual ranking of Most Powerful Women in business for five consecutive years from 2006 to 2010.She was honored with the Padma Bhushan by the President of India in 2007.She has been named 2009 CEO of the Year by Global Supply Chain Leaders Group.In 2019 Nooyi received the Bower Award for Business Leadership from the Franklin Institute Awards Program.In February 2020, Nooyi was honored with the Outstanding Woman in Business award by the League of Women Voters of Connecticut.In 2021, Nooyi was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.