PepsiCo’s CEO And Chair Indra Nooyi Is Leading The Company To New Heights

nooyiIndra K. Nooyi, PepsiCo’s chairman and CEO, is also the chief architect of the company’s “Performance with Purpose” – the pledge “to do what’s right for the business by being responsive to the needs of the world around us.”

As part of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo is focusing on delivering sustained growth by making healthier and more nutritious products, limiting its environmental footprint and protecting the planet, and empowering its associates and people in the communities it serves.

PepsiCo’s business is three pieces, Nooyi told Fast Company. It has “fun-for-you” beverages and snacks: Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Lay’s, Doritos, Fritos, Cheetos – “All the ’tos.” The second is what she calls “better-for-you” products: Diet Pepsi, Baked Lay’s, Baked Doritos. And then there’s the “good-for-you” piece: Quaker Oats, Tropicana, Naked Juice.

“We are trying to take the fun-for-you portfolio and reduce the salt, sugar, and fat, Nooyi said. “And guess what [industry analysts] tell me? ‘Don’t be Mother Teresa. Your job is to sell soda and chips.’ So this is not being disingenuous. We are trying to take a historical eating and drinking habit that has been exported to the rest of the world and make [it] more permissible.”

PepsiCo is also making sure that the healthier products, like Quaker and Tropicana, taste good and are reasonably priced – “because you shouldn’t have to pay more for healthy products” — and are ubiquitously available. The products also have to be displayed in a way that encourages consumers to make healthier choices.

“Look, there is a time and place for the fun-for-you products,” Nooyi said. “We are not nannies, and I don’t think we should be nannies. Our job is to make sure that we put these products out on the shelf and make the labeling clear.”

To make good on the company’s pledge to contribute to environmental sustainability, PepsiCo is reducing the water use in its plants and passing on technologies to farmers so they can farm and water their crops more efficiently.

Pillar three is empowering people around the world, making sure that “everybody in the world has a chance to come to work at PepsiCo, not just those lucky enough to get an education,” she said.

“Many large companies are bigger than countries,” Nooyi said. “With our market cap, we are the 37th-largest republic in the world. And we have global governance, which many countries don’t, or many regions don’t. I think we have to do our part to bring our heft and the fact that we have global governance to find ways to improve society wherever we are.”

Industry analysts are now eating their words that Performance with a Purpose, introduced six years ago, was just “feel-good nonsense that would tank the company while Coca-Cola grew stronger,” Business Insider wrote this February. Now, PepsiCo has beat quarterly expectations since 2016, and analysts are impressed.

As Nooyi said at Business Insider’s panel “Towards Better Capitalism” at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, “I have the results to show for long term management and the scars to show for short term management.”

Nooyi in 2006 was named PepsiCo’s president and CEO and a year later assumed the role of chairman. She has directed the company’s global strategy for more than a decade and led its restructuring, including the divestiture of its restaurants into the successful YUM! Brands Inc.

Nooyi also led the acquisition of Tropicana and the merger with Quaker Oats that brought the Quaker and Gatorade businesses to PepsiCo, the merger with PepsiCo’s anchor bottlers, and the acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann, the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo’s history.

She’s No. 44 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies.

Indra K. Nooyi, Chair & CEO, PepsiCo

Headquarters: Purchase, NY

Age: 62

Education: Madras Christian College (B.S.), Indian Institute of Management (M.B.A.), Yale University (Master of Public and Private Management)

First joined company: 1994

Positions before being named CEO: President and Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Development

Named CEO: 2006

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