Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi is stepping down after 24 years with the company — see her life and career, from moving to the US at age 22 to earning $31 million last year

Indra Nooyi has led PepsiCo since 2006, and she joined the company in 1994.

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Indra Nooyi has led PepsiCo since 2006, and she joined the company in 1994.
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World Economic Forum/YouTube

  • Indra Nooyi, who has been CEO of PepsiCo since 2006, announced August 6 that she is stepping down.
  • In her 24 years at PepsiCo, she helped introduce more healthy products to the company’s food and drink portfolio.
  • Nooyi was born in Chennai, India, and moved to the US in 1978 when she entered the Yale School of Management.

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, 62, announced August 6 that she is stepping down.

After 24 years at PepsiCo and 12 as CEO, Nooyi expanded the company’s healthy food and drink portfolio, while finding new and occasionally controversial ways to market its offerings like Doritos, Cheetos, and Mountain Dew.

Nooyi, who earned $31 million last year, was born in the South Indian city of Chennai in 1955. Read below how she became the leader of one of the world’s most famous food and beverage makers.


Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi was born in 1955 in Chennai, India — a city of seven million in South India.

Source: Business Insider


Nooyi, who played in a rock band as a youth, said she was a rebellious child in a conservative family.

Source: Harvard Business Review


That rebellious streak stayed with her through adulthood. “I’m still a bit of a rebel, always saying that we cannot sit still,” she told Harvard Business Review in 2015. “Every morning you’ve got to wake up with a healthy fear that the world is changing, and a conviction that, to win, you have to change faster and be more agile than anyone else.”

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Source: Harvard Business Review


By 21, Nooyi had secured her B.S. from Madras Christian College and her M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta — two of India’s most prestigious universities.

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Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography


After working at Johnson & Johnson in India for a few years, Nooyi began studying at the Yale School of Management in 1978.

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Yale School of Management/YouTube

Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography


Nooyi’s mother almost didn’t allow her to go to Yale, despite earning a hefty financial aid package, because she was 22 and still not married.

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Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune

Source: The Economic Times


Ultimately, Nooyi married at 25 to Raj K. Nooyi, who has been President at Amsoft Systems since 2002. They have two daughters.

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Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Nooyi said in 2007 that she’s constantly balancing being a parent, wife, and an executive. “It’s a day to day thing. Although, there are days when I have to go to the school. I do it, but I won’t do it every month as they expect mothers to do. I would like to go to see my daughter playing a basketball game. I won’t go to every game, but I would to some of them.”

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Getty Images/Stringer

Source: The Economic Times


Through her 20s and 30s, Nooyi held strategic planning roles at the Boston Consulting Group, Motorola, and robotics company Asea Brown Boveri.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography


By 1994, when Nooyi was 39, she received offers from General Electric and PepsiCo. When the latter offered her a role as chief strategist, she began working with the highly recognizable food and drink company.

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Kris Connor/Getty Images

Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography


One of her earliest and most controversial decisions was convincing the PepsiCo CEO to drop its restaurant division, which consisted of fast food chains like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography


Nooyi became the chief financial officer in 2000, president in 2001, and finally chairman of the board and chief executive officer in 2006.

Source: Bloomberg


While PepsiCo was flourishing in the 1990s and early 200s, a slew of factors slowed down the company right as Nooyi took over as CEO in 2006. So, Nooyi had to judge whether it was better to achieve short-term or long-term success.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Source: Harvard Business Review


“I could have gone pedal to the metal, stripped out costs, delivered strong profit for a few years, and then said adios,” she said in 2015. “But that wouldn’t have yielded long-term success.”

Source: Harvard Business Review


One of Nooyi’s initiatives was becoming more design-focused. She said she visits a market every week to see how PepsiCo’s products look on the shelves.

Source: Harvard Business Review


Another component of Nooyi’s long-term strategy was prioritizing healthy products. At first, that deafened PepsiCo’s quarterly numbers and caused analysts to doubt her leadership.

Source: Business Insider


Nooyi shared at a Business Insider panel how analysts scoffed at her strategy for years: “They kept telling me, ‘Why are you Mother Teresa? Why are you trying to change your portfolio to healthier products?’ Because that’s where the market was going. That’s where we needed to go.”

Source: Business Insider


And since 2016, PepsiCo has managed to beat quarterly expectations.

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Jemal Countess/Getty

Source: Business Insider


Last year, PepsiCo generated $63.5 billion in revenue through products like Doritos, Cheetos, Lays, Quaker Oats, and Naked Juice. Nooyi herself earned more than $31 million last year.

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Donald Heupel/Reuters

Source: PepsiCo, MarketWatch


After 24 years with Pepsi and 12 years as CEO, Nooyi announced on August 6, 2018 that she would be stepping down.

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PepsiCo

Source: Business Insider


“Leading PepsiCo has truly been the honor of my lifetime, and I’m incredibly proud of all we have done over the past 12 years to advance the interests not only of shareholders, but all our stakeholders in the communities we serve,” Nooyi said in a statement.

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Mike Segar/Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Nooyi told Bloomberg that she plans on taking a break — but not for too long. She wants to help develop more female talent to ensure better representation of women in top leadership roles. “My job is in fact just beginning once I leave PepsiCo because I can do things now that I was constrained to do when I was CEO of the company.”

Source: Bloomberg