Why you should know about Her
Nooyi is the highest-ranked Indian American female in business and PepsiCo is No. 93 on Forbes’ list of world’s largest public companies with 2013 sales of $66.4 billion, a net income of $6.7 billion and 274,000 employees. Nooyi has boldly tampered with a company that already had a solid formula for success (and I understand the resistance she faced, since I worked in the Dark Ages of the natural food industry in the 1970s). Forbes now rates it, seven years after she took the helm, at No. 25 on the list of the most valuable global brands.
*It has been included for six years in a row on the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index.
*It has a 94% carbon disclosure score from the Carbon Disclosure Project.
*Newsweek ranked it third on its Green Rankings for its industry in the U.S. PepsiCo has also encouraged employees to conserve resources, eat better and exercise more. With regard to its labor and business practices, it also has an impressive record:
*It ranked No. 11 on the best global corporations, according to the Great Places to Work Institute.
*Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business list it as one of the best companies for diversity. *Working Mother rated it one of the top places for multicultural women.
*It received a 100% score for corporate equality, as judged by the Human Rights Campaign, regarding its policies on gender and sexual orientation.
*It is No. 7 on Chief Executive magazine’s list of “Best Companies for Leaders.”
*It has been ranked among the world’s most ethical companies for six consecutive years, according to The Ethisphere Institute.
In ranking Nooyi at No. 13 on the 2014 list of “World’s Most Powerful Women,” Forbes noted that she is among just a handful who have been on since its inauguration in 2004. “She once again exceeded analysts’ expectations and dour forecasts: despite a global decline in the consumption of sugary drinks, the company’s earnings have increased 3.1% while the S&P 500 Index added less than 1%. How did she do it? Thinking outside the soda can, with innovations such as smaller sizes.”
Wall Street tends to reward short-term corporate performance, which is why most CEOs have a primary focus on improving quarterly results, no matter the sacrifice of long-term goals that this requires. But Nooyi has pleased investors as a contrarian with a vision of doing good to work towards global dominance.
When she joined PepsiCo two decades ago, its stock was $19 and declining. After she guided dramatic improvements for a dozen years, it had reached $64 by the time she was named CEO. As of mid-2014, it is $84. In 2013, investors also received their 41st consecutive dividend increase.
Not bad for a girl who wasn’t supposed to become an executive. She did get married and has two daughters, one of whom is attending the Yale School of Management.
Real Life Lessons
» You can get to bold long-term goals if you are a pragmatist in the short-run.
» Give persuading your internal opponents your best shot, then move obstructionists out of the way.
» The ceiling that has prevented more women from corporate advancement is a powerful barrier that is nonetheless made of glass.
» Indian families are role models for cultivating high achievement.
» Good nutrition is one of the secret keys to having the energy to do great things.