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Indra Nooyi: New Era of Business

Nooyi says PepsiCo's goal is to "create a defining corportation of the 21st century."
by Stephanie Valera
14 April 2009

NEW YORK, April 14, 2009 – In a sold-out appearance at Asia Society
headquarters, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi spoke with Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai about the challenges and successes she has experienced in her career at the highest levels of international business.

conversation between the two prominent Indian-American women touched on
everything from Nooyi's enthusiasm for the New York Yankees to her
assessment of President Obama's first hundred days in office. Nooyi
described for the audience what it was like to lead a major global
corporation at a time when economies are contracting worldwide, the
public has expressed widespread disenchantment with corporate CEOs, and
the threat of protectionism is on the rise.

are in an era of profound change," said Nooyi. "We can no longer be
focused on the short term, we must think long term... It's just
superhuman what is expected of us. Many of us are learning new skills.
'Rockstar' doesn’t work for any CEO."

PepsiCo's commitment to sustainable growth, defined by Nooyi as
"performance with purpose," was another focal point of the discussion.
"Talent sustainability is what I was particularly focused on," said
Nooyi. "I wanted to create an environment where people can bring their
whole selves... where they always hear from us not what they want from
us, but what they need to hear." Nooyi explained that the idea of
social corporate responsibility does not come at the expense of
profits, but actually enhances long-term sustainability.

When Desai asked Nooyi to name her greatest accomplishment, Nooyi
spoke proudly about the shift towards diversity at PepsiCo. "We have
come a long ways from me being the first foreign-born person to be an
executive; it's been an incredible journey," Nooyi said. "Our goal is
to create a defining corporation of the 21st century. Nobody's going to
remember you for delivering earnings to stockholders, they will
remember you for the lasting impact you made on society and for being

Reported by Terasa Younker

Part of the Hazen Polsky Foundation President's Forum Series