She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2014, she was ranked at number 13 on the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015. In 2017, she was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman once more on the Forbes list of The 19 Most Powerful Women in Business.
Nooyi received bachelor’s degrees in physics, chemistry and mathematics from Madras Christian College of the University of Madras in 1974, and a Post Graduate Programme Diploma from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta in 1976.
In 1978, Nooyi was admitted to Yale School of Management, and moved to USA where she earned a Master’s degree in Public and Private Management in 1980.
Beginning her career in India, Nooyi held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and textile firm Mettur Beardsell. While attending Yale School of Management, Nooyi completed her summer internship with Booz Allen Hamilton. In 1980, Nooyi joined the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a strategy consultant, and then worked at Motorola as Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning, followed by a stint at Asea Brown Boveri.
Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994, and was named CEO in 2006, replacing Steven Reinemund, becoming the fifth CEO in PepsiCo’s 44-year history. Prior to becoming CEO, Nooyi served as President and Chief Financial Officer, beginning in 2001, she was also named to PepsiCo’s Board of Directors. Between February 2000 and April 2001, Nooyi was Senior Vice President, and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo. She also served as PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Development from 1996 until 2000, and as PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning from 1994 until 1996. Nooyi has directed the company’s global strategy for more than a decade and led PepsiCo’s restructuring, including the 1997 divestiture of Tricon, now known as Yum! Brands. Tricon included companies like Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell under its umbrella. The financial gains from this spinoff allowed the company to increase the pace of its share buyback strategy, thereby giving it more leverage to pursue future acquisitions without as much shareholder backlash. Nooyi also took the lead in the acquisition of Tropicana in 1998, and the merger with Quaker Oats Company, which also brought Gatorade in 2001. The $3.3 billion acquisition of Tropicana initially faced opposition from other PepsiCo executives and Wall Street critics. Acquiring Tropicana allowed PepsiCo to gain a competitive edge; Tropicana at the time captured 44% of the chilled orange juice segment, the fastest growing segment of the juice market, an especially positive metric when compared to Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid which captured less than half of Tropicana’s market share. 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. Similar to the Tropicana acquisition, this strategic move gave PepsiCo leverage against Coca-Cola, owner of Powerade – second in the sports drink segment. PepsiCo‘s annual net profit rose from $2.7 billion to $6.5 billion.
Nooyi was named on Wall Street Journal‘s list of 50 women to watch in 2007 and 2008, and was listed among Time‘s 100 Most Influential People in The World in 2007 and 2008. Forbes named her the #3 most powerful woman in 2008. In 2014, she was ranked #13 by Forbes. Fortune ranked her the #1 in the list of Most Powerful Women in Business in 2009 and 2010. On 7 October 2010, Fortune magazine ranked her the 6th most powerful woman in the world. In Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women List of 2015, Nooyi ranked 2nd.
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. 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). Her initiative was backed up with ample funding. She moved corporate spending away from junk foods and into the healthier alternatives, with the aim of improving the healthiness of even the “fun” offerings. In 2015, Nooyi removed aspartame from Diet Pepsi, furthering the shift towards healthier foods, despite lack of evidence of aspartame’s harmful effects.
As part of Performance with a Purpose, Nooyi also focused on environmental concerns and sustainability, redesigning packaging to reduce waste, conserving water, switching to renewable energy sources and recycling. In 2020, company-operated U.S. facilities are using 100% renewable electricity. The third component of Performance with a Purpose involved creating a culture where workers were encouraged to stay with the company. As one example, Nooyi wrote to the parents of her leadership team and visited their homes to create the personal connection.
Nooyi has stated an intent to develop a line of snacks marketed specifically for women, feeling that it is a hitherto unexplored category. In a radio interview, Nooyi stated that PepsiCo is getting ready to launch products designed and packaged as per women’s preferences, and based on behavioral differences in the way men and women consume snacks.
On August 6, 2018, Nooyi stepped down as CEO, and Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year veteran of PepsiCo, replaced her on October 3, as well as becoming a member of the board of directors. However, Nooyi continued to serve as the chairman of the company until early 2019. During her tenure, the company’s sales grew 80%. Nooyi served as CEO for 12 years, 7 years longer than the average CEO tenure at large companies according to an Equilar study.
Connecticut public service
In 2019, Nooyi became the co-director of the newly created Connecticut Economic Resource Center, a public-private partnership with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. She will help draft the state’s new economic development strategy. Nooyi is a resident of Connecticut and a Yale SOM classmate of Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.
In April 2020, it was announced that Nooyi – along with Yale epidemiologist Dr. Albert Ko – will represent Connecticut on the six-state working group planning for the careful easing of COVID-19 restrictions. Both Nooyi and Ko will also co-chair the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group.
Nooyi is also the co-chair of Connecticut-based nonprofit organization AdvanceCT.
While CEO of PepsiCo in 2011, Nooyi earned $17 million, which included a base salary of $1.9 million, a cash bonus of $2.5 million, pension value and deferred remuneration of $3 million. By 2014, her total remuneration had grown to $19,087,832, including $5.5 million of equity.
Awards and recognition
In 2018, Nooyi was named one of the “Best CEOs In The World” by the CEOWORLD magazine. Forbes magazine ranked Nooyi on the 2008 through 2017 lists of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women. Fortune magazine has named Nooyi number one on its annual ranking of Most Powerful Women in business for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2008, Nooyi was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report. In 2008, she was elected to the Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In January 2008, Nooyi was elected chairwoman of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC). Nooyi leads USIBC’s Board of Directors, an assembly of more than 60 senior executives representing a cross-section of American industry.
Nooyi has been named 2009 CEO of the Year by Global Supply Chain Leaders Group.
In 2009, Nooyi was considered one of “The TopGun CEOs” by Brendan Wood International, an advisory agency. After five years on top, PepsiCo’s Indian American chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi has been pushed to the second spot as most powerful woman in US business by Kraft’s CEO, Irene Rosenfeld.
Nooyi was named to Institutional Investor‘s Best CEOs list in the All-America Executive Team Survey in 2008 to 2011.
Nooyi was selected as one of the 2019 American Portrait Gala honorees by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The oil on canvas work created in 2019 by Jon R. Friedman was commissioned by the museum to be part of the collection.
In February 2020, Nooyi was honored with the Outstanding Woman in Business award by the League of Women Voters of Connecticut.
|2019||Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters||Yale University|
|2018||Honorary Degree||Cranfield University|
|2015||Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters||State University of New York at Purchase|
|2013||Honorary Degree||North Carolina State University|
|2011||Honorary Doctor of Laws||Wake Forest University|
|2011||Honorary Doctor of Laws||University of Warwick|
|2011||Honorary Doctorate of Law||Miami University|
|2010||Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters||Pennsylvania State University|
|2009||Honorary Degree||Duke University|
|2009||Barnard Medal of Honor||Barnard College|
|2008||Honorary Degree||New York University|
|2007||Padma Bhushan||President of India|
|2004||Honorary Doctor of Laws||Babson College|
Memberships and associations
Nooyi is a Successor Fellow of the Yale Corporation. She serves as a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, International Rescue Committee, Catalyst and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships, and has served as Chairperson of the U.S.-India Business Council.
Nooyi serves as an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Justice Project. The World Justice Project works to lead a global, multidisciplinary effort to strengthen the Rule of Law for the development of communities of opportunity and equity.
From April 2015 until April 2020, she was a director of Schlumberger Limited.
In June 2016, she was part of the inaugural team on the Temasek Americas Advisory Panel.
In December 2016, Nooyi joined a business forum assembled by Donald Trump to provide strategic and policy advice on economic issues.
In June 2018, Nooyi joined the International Cricket Council Board as the organization’s first independent female director.
Since February 2019, Nooyi has been a member of the board of directors at Amazon.
In 2016, Nooyi gifted an undisclosed amount to her alma mater, The Yale School of Management. She became the school’s biggest alumni donor in history and the first woman to endow a deanship at a top business school with her gift. Nooyi and her husband Raj donated 187,000 Scholastic books to Connecticut’s alliance school districts as part of the Partnership for Connecticut during the COVID-19 crisis.
Indra married Raj K. Nooyi, president at AmSoft Systems, in 1981. Nooyi has two daughters and resides in Greenwich, Connecticut. Forbes ranked her at the 3rd spot among “World’s Powerful Moms” list.
In India, she used to play cricket and was also in an all-girl rock band, where she played guitar.