The name Indra Nooyi conjures up images of achievement, leadership, and tenacity. She is a well-known personality in business and an inspiration to plenty of aspiring businesspeople.
One of the biggest food and beverage corporations in the world, PepsiCo, has Nooyi as its former CEO. Over her more than ten-year employment, she played a crucial role in directing the company’s strategic ambitions and expansion.
Nooyi’s success is evidence of her unrelenting dedication, original ideas, and potent leadership abilities. Indra’s story is an inspiration for all women who feel stuck in countries where patriarchy still rules.
How did Indra manage to reach the position of CEO of one of the world’s largest companies, coming from an ordinary middle-class family, and what did she need to achieve that, find out in the rest of the article!
Indra Krishnamurti was born at the end of October 1955, on the 28th to be exact, in the beautiful Indian city of Chennai.
Despite the fact that her family occupied a middle-class position in society, Indra managed to break into the list of the 100 most successful women in the world.
Due to the fact that her grandfather was a judge and her father worked in a bank, her mother influenced her formation and strong character, and today Indra often credits her for most of her success.
Her mother was an ordinary housewife, who devoted her free and non-free time to her children and everyday life, and did her best to make her children successful.
She constantly developed them spiritually by organizing competitions on the topics: “What would I do if I were very famous?”, “What would I change if I became president?”, “If I were an influential politician, what would I do?”…
Indra and her sisters had to work hard to get their mother to accept their response since she was a stringent judge, a harsh critic, and annoyed by even the tiniest details.
During that time, it was disgraceful to educate women to succeed and manifest in a variety of professions in an effort to achieve independence and supremacy.
Thankfully, Indra’s family did not hold these opinions; as a result, they let her play croquet and be a part of a rock band instead of learning how to do simple household chores.
Because of Indra’s strong will and desire to continuously violate rules and restrictions, it was challenging to deny something from her.
Krishnamurti excelled in her academic performance at the same time, taking the top spot on the list of students.
Even her grandfather deconstructed every mathematical textbook theorem with her because he knew he wouldn’t live long.
By the way, she still enjoys music, and occasionally she plays the guitar for her staff members while singing and requesting their involvement.
She even even hired an orchestra for a conference so that one of the staff members could sing and feel like a celebrity.
Krishnamurti graduated from the Indian Institute of Management. Her first job was the student newspaper, where she was tasked with selling advertising pages.
She then joined Mettur Beardsell, a textile company, as a product manager. After that, there was an interesting experience at Johnson & Johnson.
That job was a great opportunity, except that at that time she had a task that was almost impossible – to advertise feminine hygiene products.
At that time, Indian women did not appreciate products of this type too much, so it was difficult to find the right way for their advertisement and successful sale.
Indra stated to the media on occasion that she was occasionally inspired by difficulties rather than being scared of them.
After a significant upheaval in her life, she makes the decision to go to the United States in order to attend the Yale School of Management.
The choice angered the family since it severely reduced her prospects of getting married.
But Krishnamurti also triumphed in this situation after meeting Raja Nooyi, a lovely Indian who not only accepted her as his wife but also loved her so much that he gave up his job at Hewlett-Packard so she could pursue her own profession.
Because of her preference for saris, Indra found it challenging to adopt the American business women’s attire. With the help of her university’s professor, Indra made the decision to be true to herself and wear outfits that made her feel good about herself.
Therefore, during the Boston Consulting Group’s subsequent job interview, a black woman wearing a sari was hired as an intern and then promoted to project director.
After six years, she was battled for by several prominent firms.
She had already worked for a number of major corporations, so when PepsiCo offered her the senior vice president job, she was intrigued.
For the business and for the Indian woman personally, this was a significant occasion. As PepsiCo was struggling, the restaurant industry was bringing the entire company down and putting its image in jeopardy.
It took a lot of work on Indra’s part to persuade the director to sell it and 60% of the company’s stock. The turnover decreased by around 10 billion, and it took ten years to get it back to normal.
Yet, in Nooyi’s opinion, this choice was well worth it. After all, despite the lower turnover, the profit increased several times, and the money from the sold shares went to the development of the corporation, which only strengthened its position on the world market.
By the way, they bought those shares back in 2010, 11 years later.
She attained the position of financial director thanks to her initiative in acquiring the Tropicana juice rights in 1998.
She had discovered that consumers tended to drink Pepsi later in the day and preferred nutritious meals in the morning.
Next it was Quaker Oats’ time, where they started making Gatorade sports drinks after recognizing they needed to reach a wider demographic of customers, particularly athletes who wouldn’t risk consuming beverages with a high sugar content.
Today, Pepsi Corporation is mainly engaged in selling healthy food products. For example, oatmeal, contrary to popular belief that PepsiCo is just soda.
And since 2010, they also received the rights to Wimm-Bill-Dann, starting to master the production of dairy products.
Since 2001, Indra has been given an additional position — president of the company, which she held until 2018.
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Nooyi is the first female executive director in the company’s history, and she worked in the company for 24 years.
In the 12 years she led PepsiCo, sales increased by as much as 80 percent, and the company began to focus more and more on the market of healthy beverages.
Just a year before her resignation, the company had revenues of $63.5 billion and a net profit of $4.9 billion, and their products can still be purchased in more than 200 countries around the world.
Nooyi herself is regularly included in the Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, so in 2014 she was in 13th place, and in 2015 in 15th place.
Her wealth is estimated at around 100 million. “Leading this company has been a great honor and I am extremely proud of everything we have done over the past 12 years.
When I was growing up, I never dreamed that I would get the opportunity to be at the head of such an incredible company,” she said in her statement to the media.
A few of Indra’s tips for success are:
Indra recommends reading the book by David Brooks called “The Way to Character”, and considers it the most powerful and able to influence one’s worldview. By the way, after reading this masterpiece, she and her daughters spent a lot of time discussing whether it was necessary to “build” their character, and if so, how important it was.
– Financial position and power should not be the main goal of a person, but only a pleasant addition to an interesting job. Therefore, only those who have found their calling, regardless of the salary, can call themselves successful.
– You should not be distracted by nonsense, it is important to be able to determine your goal, and the sooner you learn it, the better results you will achieve. That’s why you teach your children from childhood to think about the future and set priorities correctly.
– Never stop in your development, regardless of status, age and activity. Learn, observe and explore. Indra, for example, still spends a lot of time in supermarkets to study the preferences of visitors, to observe exactly what they choose and when.
– The main resource of every person should be family, religion and close friends. Don’t forget that in the race for success. Even the CEO of PepsiCo kept flying to India to pray in the temple, get strength and get blessings. Now, in order to save time, she has acquired a statue of the goddess, to whom she prays for every need in her home.
– To gain authority and trust, you need to defend your opinion under any conditions.
– Even when you reach the greatest heights, no one has the right to relax.
– The right motivation can inspire a person so much that they will move mountains.
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