Indra Nooyi is an Indian American business executive and former CEO of PepsiCo. She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. She serves on the board of Amazon, the International Cricket Council, and Schlumberger.

Indra Nooyi Early Life

Indra Nooyi was born on October 8, 1955 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu in India. Nooyi did her schooling in Holy Angels Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School in T.Nagar.

Later she received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Madras Christian College in 1974, and immediately entered the MBA program at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. 

After graduating from IIM-C in 1976, she worked in India for several years (including a stretch at Madura Coats). 

Yale School of Management admitted her  for a master’s degree in Management in 1978. 

Indra Nooyi Career

After Getting her master’s degree from Yale in 1980, Nooyi started at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), from where she moved on to strategy positions of Motorola and ABB.

Indra married Raj K. Nooyi, president at AmSoft Systems, in 1981. Nooyi has two daughters and resides in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi

Later one of her daughters is attending the School of Management at Yale, Nooyi’s alma mater.

Soon Indra Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994, board named her president and Chief Finance Officer (CFO) in 2001. 

On August 14, 2006, Board named her the CEO of PepsiCo, becoming the fifth CEO in PepsiCo’s 42-year history. 

Effective May 2, 2007 she took over the role of chairman. While at PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi played a vital role in starting Tricon, which is currently known as Yum! Brands Inc. 

In December 2016, Nooyi joined a business forum assembled by President-Elect Trump to provide strategic and policy advice on economic issues.

Later on 6 August 2018, PepsiCo Inc confirmed that Nooyi would step down as the CEO and Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year veteran of PepsiCo, would replace her on 3 October.

Indra Nooyi Pepsi Strategy

She reclassified PepsiCo’s products into three categories: “fun for you” (such as potato chips and regular soda), “better for you” (diet or low-fat versions of snacks and sodas), and “good for you” (items such as oatmeal).

Pepsi board backed her initiative with ample funding. Soon she moved corporate spending away from junk foods and into the healthier alternatives

Nooyi recommended spinning off Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, arguing PepsiCo couldn’t bring enough value to the fast food industry. 

Nooyi also took the lead in the acquisition of Tropicana in 1998, and merger with Quaker Oats Co. 

Acquiring Tropicana allowed PepsiCo to gain a competitive edge; Tropicana at the time captured 44% of the chilled orange juice segment.

The Quaker Oats Company’s ownership of Gatorade was a positive strategic move for PepsiCo, since Gatorade was responsible for 80% of sports drink sales at the time.

Nooyi’s strategic redirection of PepsiCo has been largely successful. During her tenure, the company’s sales grew 80%. PepsiCo’s annual net profit rose from $2.7 billion to $6.5 billion.

Indra Nooyi Awards and Recognistion

Fortune Magazine named her the Number 1 Most Powerful Woman in Business in 2006 and 2007. 

Time magazine listed her 100 Most Influential People in The World in 2007 and 2008. She is also a member of a highly secretive group known as the Bilderberg Group. 

In 2007, Government of India awarded her Padma Bhushan. Soon she was elected to the fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008, . 

In 2009, Global Supply Chain Leaders Group named her 2009 CEO of the Year. 

Later in 2010, Fortune magazine named her number one on list of the 50 most powerful women and number 6 on Forbe’s list of the World’s 100 most powerful women. 

Nooyi was named to Institutional Investors Best CEO list in the All-America Executive Team Survey in 2008 to 2011. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband Raj K. Nooyi. 

Later prestigious Yale School of Management will name its deanship in honour of PepsiCo’s India-born CEO Indra Nooyi as she gifted an undisclosed amount, becoming the school’s biggest alumni donor and the first woman to endow a deanship at a top business school. 

In 2015, she was provided Honorary Doctorate of Humane letters by State University of New York. 

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