Women's Tabloid

Home Leadership Indra Nooyi’s Extraordinary Journey from PepsiCo’s Boardroom to Global Inspiration

Indra Nooyi’s Extraordinary Journey from PepsiCo’s Boardroom to Global Inspiration

Women's Tabloid News Desk
Women's Tabloid News Desk

Indra Nooyi, an Indian-born American businesswoman, is widely recognised as one of the top CEOs for her leadership in the global presence of PepsiCo for 12 years. Nooyi served as the company’s CEO (2006 – 2018) and chairman of the board (2007- 2019). She was the first woman of colour and first immigrant to head a Fortune 50 company.

Indra Krisnamurthy was born on October 28, 1955 in Madras (now called Chennai), India. She grew up in a close family with two siblings, her parents, and her grandparents. Her father was a bank official, and her mother was a housewife. Nooyi was a brilliant child, who not only excelled in her studies in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, but also competed in the cricket team and played guitar in a female rock band. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree  in chemistry from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, and a Master of Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Management. 

In 1994, she joined PepsiCo as senior vice president of corporate strategy and development, where she played an instrumental role in shaping the global restructuring strategy, through acquiring and selling off subsidiary companies. She led the sale of Yum! Brands (which includes restaurants KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) and the acquisitions of Tropicana,Quaker Oats, and Gatorade. These acquisitions consolidated profits and tightened focus at PepsiCo to the core business of beverages and snacks. By 2001 she was named president and chief financial officer of the company. She was responsible for corporate functions, including finance, strategy, business process optimization, corporate platforms and innovation, procurement, investor relations and information technology.  

She also pushed PepsiCo to acknowledge the need to be a good corporate citizen on  environmental issues, coining the term “Performance with a Purpose” as Pepsi’s new mantra. Her strategic guidance was largely a success, with Pepsi offering more low-calorie options and cutting the corporate carbon footprint through leaner packaging and the use of renewable energy. 

Prior to PepsiCo, Nooyi spent four years as Senior Vice President of Strategy, Planning and Strategic Marketing for Asea Brown Boveri (now ABB), a Zurich-based company, where She was part of the top management team responsible for U.S. business. Between 1986 and 1990, Nooyi worked for Motorola, where she was Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning, having joined the company as the business development executive responsible for its automotive and industrial electronics group.

Nooyi has penned the memoir titled “My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future,” providing valuable perspectives and a compelling call-to-action on integrating work and family life while promoting the advancement of women in the 21st century. This New York Times bestseller is accessible in various languages.

Indra Nooyi is the recipient of 15 honorary degrees. In 2007, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan by India, the 3rd highest civilian honor. In the same year, she was named an “Outstanding American by choice” by the US State Department. In 2019, her portrait was inducted into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and in 2021 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts of Sciences, the Academy of Science and the American Philosophical Society. 

She is a revered role model for women and immigrants and celebrated for her empowering messages on inclusivity.

Recommended For You