Indra Nooyi: The Journey from Chennai to PepsiCo's Corner Office
Blog By Sunandini Raj | Aug 08 2018

The challenge of a leader is looking around the corner..and making the change before it’s too late to make the change- Indra Nooyi


After over two decades of remaining successful at the helm of an American company, PepsiCo’s CEO Indra Nooyi has decided to step down from the responsibilities. Ranked one of most influential businesswoman in America, time and again, Ms Nooyi’s lucrative career is a substantially useful insight for every aspiring business major. However, the story of Indra Nooyi began way before her days at PepsiCo did.

Indra Krishnamurthy was born into a conservative Tamil Brahmin family. As a young girl, it was Indra’s mother, who pushed her daughters to dream big; she would assign the girls to daily exercises, where they had to assume to be world leaders, and write down a speech proposing innovative ideas. The girls would later pitch this speech over dinner and their mother would decide who she was going to vote for. Such exercises, throughout the formative years of their childhood, rendered both the Krishnamurthy girls ambitious and career-oriented.

The dynamic Krishnamurthy girl completed her Post Graduate program from the Indian Institute of Management – Calcutta in 1976 and kickstarted her career as a Manager with companies like Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell. In 1978, Indra earned a scholarship to study Public and Private Management at the Yale school of Management. Over the following years, she went on to hold strategist positions at firms like Boston Consulting Group and Motorola.



In 1994, Indra Nooyi joined PepsiCo and was named CFO in 2001. At a time when America was advocating the shift to healthier habits, in line with obesity awareness campaigns, the soda consumption in the region fell by a drastic margin. Despite such challenges, the stoic Indra drove PepsiCo’s annual net profit from $2.4 billion to $6.5 billion. She oversaw the acquisition of Tropicana and the merger with Quaker Oats, helping re-establish the company as a growing Healthy foods manufacturer. In 2006, she became the first female CEO the company ever had. An ingenious strategist, she managed to increase the company shares by 78%, during her tenure.

It should be noted that Indra Nooyi is just as passionate when it comes to empowering the women around her. At a world summit in New York, Nooyi discussed the various nuances at which women tend to discriminate each other and ward off constructive criticism from their female counter-parts, affecting their productivity and the quality of their final output. She went on to discuss the payment disparity that women face, even today. Putting forth a suggestion, she discussed how governments could offer a tax ease on building a daycare unit, within company premises, to support new mothers.

Today, over two decades later, Indra Nooyi is set to pass the baton to Ramon Laguarta, the current President at PepsiCo. We salute Indra Nooyi on her triumphant journey from being an aspirant to becoming an inspiration.

Blog By Sunandini Raj

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