Powerful Women: Indra Nooyi


The number of female CEOs on the Fortune 500 list tops out at eighteen. Eighteen sounds like an extremely low number, but in reality, this is a record high. Women now run just 3.6 percent of Fortune 500 companies and one in ten of those companies have no women on their boards, at all.

So I would say that being a female CEO is a huge accomplishment, even in the year 2012. Enter: Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Office of Pepsi Corporation, the second largest food and beverage business in the world (by net revenue). Nooyi has had the honor of being consistently ranked among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women for several years.

Born in Tamil Nadu, India, Nooyi earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from Madras Christian College in India in 1974. She followed this degree with an MBA from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta in 1976.

Nooyi began her career in India, working as a product manager at Johnson & Johnson. In 1978, she was admitted to Yale School of Management and earned a Master’s degree in Public and Private Management. Post graduation in 1980, Nooyi held positions at Boston Consulting Group, Motorola, and Asea Brown Boveri.

Nooyi began work with PepsiCo in 1994 and by 2001 she was named President and CFO.  Nooyi is an assertive businesswoman. She aided in Pepsi’s acquisition of Tropicana in 1998, their merger with Quaker Oats Company and Gatorade, and the divestiture of Yum! Brands. Nooyi has also directed the company’s global strategy and aided in PepsiCo’s restructuring.

Since Nooyi’s reign as CFO began, Pepsi’s annual revenues have risen 72%, with net profit more than doubling to $5.6 Billion, according to BusinessWeek. In 2007, Nooyi was appointed the companies fifth CEO.

Nooyi’s accolades are never ending. She is consistently ranked in the Top Five of Forbes magazine’s Most Powerful Women’s list, was elected Chairwoman of the US-India Business Council in 2008, was named CEO of the Year by Global Supply Chain in 2009, is a Successor Fellow of the Yale Corporation, 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 also holds a position as a member of the Board of Trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships and is an Honorary Co-Chair for the World Justice Project.

As if she isn’t busy enough, Nooyi is happily married to Rajkantilal Nooyi and is a mother to two daughters. Forbes also ranked her as the third Most Powerful Mom in the World.

Ally | Elite.

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