The CEO Who Inspires Me – Indra Nooyi

CEO. This 3 lettered acronym holds a myriad of emotions- be it power, respect, revolution or just some inspiration. In the world of business, we see people holding such positions as the trailblazers. People who not only inspire their employees but also their customers, clients and the society. One such prominent and profound name among them is Indra Nooyi, the first woman CEO of Pepsico which is the second largest food and beverage business in the world by net revenue.

You may know that she is stepping down as the CEO of Pepsico in October. In her 12 years of the stint as the CEO, she has made a remarkable impression on the world. She has been consistently ranked among the ‘World’s 100 Most Powerful Women’ with being the 2nd most powerful woman in 2015.

Her work ethic and principles in life have not only helped Pepsico grow into a larger success but also it has been established as one of the best places of work in all parts of the world. She says that when people look back and see how Pepsico has developed over the years, they get a good feeling for what it is today. They were a company that made coveted products like soft drinks, potato chips, corn chips, etc. which were all fabulous products that tasted great and brought a smile on people’s lips. But, as the society was changing, she had to make tough decisions during her stint. She tells how difficult it was to tell the people who had been following a particular business model for decades to comply with changes in the model. Making those tough decisions is what defines a CEO and it is what inspires the coming generation.

A CEO knows that the most important resource for a business is the employees. Indra Nooyi is no stranger to such a fact. When Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the USA, there was a sense of panic among the non-Americans. There was a fear of losing their jobs in the country. An email was all it took her to inspire the Pepsico employees. An excerpt from the email- “We serve more countries and territories than the United Nations, and our associates encompass virtually all of the world’s nationalities, cultures, faith and traditions. That diversity is a source of strength, an engine of creativity, dynamism, and prosperity. And it reflects the simple recognition that no matter what our differences, each of us is committed to doing our part for one another and this company that fills us with pride.” Read the complete email here.

Indra Nooyi introduced the “Performance with Purpose” into the Pepsico culture which positioned Pepsico for long-term success and sustainability. It means delivering great performance while doing the right things for the people and the community around the world. It is a belief that is different from the regular Corporate Social Responsibilities that is commonly known as CSR activities. Watch her talk about it here. It is ideas such as this one that truly inspires people and not just the perks of being a CEO.

There are not just the famous quotes that work as an inspirational push, but the small beliefs and principles that such CEOs possess. Have a look at this compilation of some of her wisdom.

Indra Nooyi is a perfect example of a CEO who inspires and she is the one who inspires me the most.

Check out her Linkedin profile.

Which CEO is your source of inspiration? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Parth Shekhar

The author is an entrepreneur by nature and an aspirant by heart. He worked in IT domain for 2 years. After pursuing 'Certification in Entrepreneurship Management' from XLRI Jamshedpur, he is currently involved in family business and also was a part of the iART program 2018 at insideIIM.