is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo
. She is the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s goal to deliver sustained financial performance by providing a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; finding innovative ways to minimize the company’s impact on the environment, lowering costs; providing a safe and inclusive workplace for PepsiCo employees globally; and respecting, supporting and investing in the local communities in which the company operates.
Mrs. Nooyi was named President and CEO in 2006 and Chairman in 2007. She has directed the company's global strategy for more than a decade and led its restructuring. This has included the divestiture of its restaurants into the successful YUM! Brands, Inc., the acquisition of Tropicana, and the merger with Quaker Oats that brought the vital Quaker and Gatorade businesses to PepsiCo. She also led the merger with PepsiCo's anchor bottlers and the acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann, the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo's history.
Prior to becoming CEO, Mrs. Nooyi served as President and Chief Financial Officer beginning in 2001, when she was also named to PepsiCo's Board of Directors. In this position, she was responsible for PepsiCo's corporate functions, including finance, strategy, business process optimization, corporate platforms and innovation, procurement, investor relations and information technology.
Before joining PepsiCo in 1994, Mrs. Nooyi spent time in strategy roles with Asea Brown Boveri, a Zurich-based industrials company, Motorola and The Boston Consulting Group.
She holds a B.S. in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University. Mrs. Nooyi is married and has two daughters.
Q&A with Indra Nooyi
Why do you believe STEM education/workforce development are critical to our nation’s future?
We live in a world where continuous change is the norm, and we need people skilled in science, technology, engineering and math to develop the innovative products and ideas that will allow us to keep up with the rapid pace of change. STEM subjects form the basis for innovation, which is the driver of economic growth and progress.
For PepsiCo, we see talent development within functions that utilize STEM skills – like research & development (R&D), finance, IT and supply chain – as absolutely essential to our continued success, and that’s a need that will only become more critical in the future. So by supporting STEM education, as we are proud to do through our participation on the STEM Innovation Task Force, we are actually also supporting our own corporate strategic priorities. The goal of the Task Force is to develop programs that accelerate sustainable STEM careers through innovation science and excellence in an economy that is constantly changing.
How do we encourage students to continue their study of STEM subjects, particularly women and underrepresented minorities?
It’s vital that we increase the numbers of women and minorities in STEM fields, because without their contributions, we will never reach our potential economically and as a society.
The private sector has a particularly important role to play in nurturing young female and minority talent. We need to provide them with more visibility to the STEM-related work we do in the corporate world, and spotlight the women and minorities who are making incredible contributions in the field today. For global companies like PepsiCo, we need to be as diverse as our consumer base to be successful, and that means building a diverse workforce.
Our employees are encouraged to bring their children to work so they can see firsthand what their parents do for a living. By doing so, their children see how their STEM education and scientific excellence can drive amazing breakthrough innovation – which translates into significant top- and bottom-line growth. Bringing that kind of immersive experience to women and minorities is critical to building their ranks.
How can we do a better job to strategically coordinate all those engaged with STEM across the company?
The most important thing that corporate leaders can do to advance STEM initiatives is to tie them more closely to the various functions within the business and across different geographies. For example, our R&D teams are at their most effective when they’re interacting with their colleagues in areas like marketing or consumer insights. When that happens, our scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technologists are able to more fully contribute to the growth of the business.
At PepsiCo, our STEM-oriented functions work closely together with global groups we have set up to drive innovation platforms around the world. Together, they lift and shift our best ideas and practices across different markets. This multiplies the impact that our functional teams can have on the global business and enhances their value to the organization.
What is the STEM initiative that your company has supported that you are most proud of?
We have a number of STEM-oriented programs that not only aid the development of our R&D associates but also showcase their incredible talent. We offer a comprehensive online training platform called Global R&D University
, where our associates can learn more about areas ranging from nutrition to food safety to product development. This also includes a comprehensive training program on innovation excellence, which helps us deliver a continuous pipeline of meaningful, consumer-centric products.
And we highlight the achievements of the very best of our R&D team with a ceremony called the PepsiCo Academy of Sciences
, which honors our brightest scientific minds. At this event, we award our team members who have developed the incredible innovations and supporting science that are transforming our company. It’s a huge point of pride for me and everyone at PepsiCo.
Where do you see the biggest area of opportunity in advancing STEM jobs/careers?
There’s a tremendous opportunity to attract young talent toward a career in STEM fields, because the interest is already there. Today’s youth are engaged with high technology in so many forms, but they may not pursue a career because they don’t have a full understanding of the many different kinds of jobs that are out there.
The private sector needs to do a better job of communicating the huge array of jobs that require a STEM education and skills. At PepsiCo, that could range from product development to packaging design to the creation of sustainable agriculture programs – all of these are incredibly stimulating jobs that give people the opportunity to make a real impact on the world. So the supply of great jobs is there in the private sector. We need to do a better job of creating the demand by advertising our jobs and career paths more effectively.