Her Story

Indra Nooyi – First Woman Ceo of PepsiCo


Living in a world where gender inequality has become an important part of our society and exists almost everywhere, it gives us great pride to talk about a woman who has managed to beat all the odds, to hold the topmost position 2nd largest food and beverage company in the world.

Indra Nooyi, MD and CEO of PepsiCo were born on 28th of October 1955. With a net worth of $18.6 million (2014) and is also consistently ranked among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women as well. In 2014, she was named as the 3rd Most Powerful Woman in Business by Fortune, while currently; she holds the 15th position in the list of World’s 100 most powerful women by Forbes.

She has also been conferred with “Padma Bhushan” (third highest civilian award) by the President of India, and was also appointed to the U.S.-India CEO Forum led by the Obama Administration as well.

She was born to conservative and middle-class family in Madras (presently Chennai), and was always known to be a bit of a rule breaker. She was a very ambitious girl and always believed in utilizing her talents to the fullest. She had joined an all-girls’ cricket team, and even played guitar in an all-female rock band, during her days at the Madras Christian College. This determination and perseverance of hers got her an entry at IIM Kolkata, from where she completed her PG Diploma in Management in 1976.

After getting done with her studies, she decided to begin her career and joined ‘Tootal’, a British textile company. And after a brief stint with them, she moved on to work with ‘Johnson & Johnson’ and textile firm ‘Mettur Beardsell’ as their Product Manager for roughly 2 years.

While at Johnson & Johnson, she was asked to handle the Stayfree account. Now this was a time when such things were considered to be a taboo, and you couldn’t advertise personal protection in India.

The next thing she did was, she moved to the US to pursue her Master’s Degree in Public and Private Management, in 1978. She also managed to complete a summer internship with Booz Allen Hamilton as well. Now, while in the US, since she had moved there with very little money, she also used to work as a ‘Receptionist’ in a night shift.

After giving more than six years of her professional life from 1986 and 1994, she went on to work with ‘Motorola’ as VP and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning. Indra chose the soft-drink maker, and in 1994 joined them as its Senior VP, Strategic Planning.

She handled that portfolio for almost 2 years, post which, she also served as PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Development from 1996 until 2000 as well. She was the brain behind PepsiCo’s global strategy for more than a decade, which was now coming to view. She was also the brain behind the formation of a separate brand in 1997 for its restaurants, into ‘Tricon.’ The brand is now known as “Yum! Brands” which made its KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

she was an integral part in making the acquisition of ‘Tropicana’ orange-juice brand, for which she also had helped put together the $3.3 billion-dollar-deal for the purchase in 1998, after which she had also help the company to secure the purchase of ‘Quaker Oats’ for $14 billion.

Indra Nooyi major achievements are:-

  • Serves as a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, International Rescue Committee, Catalyst
  • Received an ‘Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters’ from the State University of New York at Purchase (2015)
  • Named as ‘2009 CEO of the Year’ by Global Supply Chain Leaders Group
  • Named as one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report (2008)
  • Elected to the Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008)
  • Elected as the Chairwoman of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) (2008)



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