Career Story of Indra K. Nooyi – Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo

By : Swati Sharma |
Indra Nooyi

Let’s start from the very beginning!

An Indian-born American businesswoman, Indra Nooyi was born on 28 October 1955 to Tamil parents in Tamil Nadu. Born to a conservative and middle-class family in Madras (presently Chennai), Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi attended Holy Angels AIHS School in Chennai and completed her schooling. In the year 1974, Nooyi earned a Graduation Degree in Chemistry, Physics and Maths from Madras Christian College. After earning her degree, she went to the prestigious Indian Institute of Management Calcutta for doing Masters in Finance and Marketing. To pursue higher studies, she went to the US in the year 1978 and joined Yale School of Management where she earned a master’s degree in Public and Private Management.

Belonging to a South Indian family, Indra’s father worked at the State Bank of Hyderabad and her grandfather was a district judge. She used to play cricket and joined all-girls cricket team, and even played guitar in an all-female rock band, during her days at the Madras Christian College. Her older sister, Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon is a businesswoman and Grammy-nominated artist. Nooyi and her sister were groomed by her mother. A mother of two daughters, Indra married Raj K. Nooyi and lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA, with her family.

Career Growth

The lady with a fizz, Nooyi after getting done with her studies decided to start her career and joined Johnson & Johnson and ABB in Mumbai. She played a major role in the launch of Stayfree, Johnson & Johnson’s first sanitary napkin. While studying at Yale, Indra completed her summer internship with Booz Allen Hamilton. In the year 1980, for the next six years, she worked as a strategy consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. Then she worked at Motorola as Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning, and then joined engineering firm ‘Asea Brown Boveri’ (ABB) as Senior VP of Strategy and Strategic Marketing.

The PepsiCo Journey – Second largest food and beverage company in the world

In the year 1994, Indra joined PepsiCo the 2nd largest food and beverage company in the world. She joined as a senior vice president of corporate strategy and development. In 2001 she was elected as President and Chief Financial Officer of the company, after serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since 2000, and as Senior VP, Strategic Planning from 1994 until 1996. Nooyi surpassed everybody’s imagination and got the title of Pepsi Co CEO in October 2006 and next year became chairman of the board as well. She was the first lady to lead the soft-drink and snack-food giant and one of only 11 female chief executives of Fortune 500 companies. According to Business Week, since Indra, the successor to Steven Reinemund as chief executive officer of Pepsi Co started work as CFO in 2000 the company’s annual revenues have risen 72%, while net profit more than doubled, to USD 5.6 billion in 2006.

” Leadership is hard to define and good leadership even harder. But if you can get people to follow you to the ends of the earth, you are a great leader.” – Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi

Awards and Recognition

YearNameAwarding Organisation
2004Honorary Doctor of LawsBabson College
2007Padma BhushanPresident of India
2008Honorary DegreeNew York University
2009Barnard Medal of HonorBarnard College
2010Honorary Doctorate of Humane LettersPennsylvania State University
2011Honorary Doctorate of LawMiami University
2011Honorary Doctor of Laws The University of Warwick, Miami University and Wake Forest University
2015Honorary Doctorate of Humane LettersThe State University of New York at Purchase
2018Honorary DegreeCranfield University
2019Honorary Doctorate of Humane LettersYale University

The career story of Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi proved that a woman can be a wife, a mother, a daughter and a successful working woman. Indra Nooyi story proves that a woman can achieve anything that she wishes for.