Indra Nooyi flying high

NEW YORK, August 14: Indian American corporate honcho Indra Nooyi, once described as one of the “most powerful women in America”, has been named the next CEO of US multinational PepsiCo.

The Chennai-born Nooyi, who will take charge on Oct 1, will succeed Steve Reinemund, who said that he is retiring to spend more time with his family, according to a press release.

Nooyi joined the 33 billion dollar global convenient foods and beverages company in 1994 and has served as president and chief financial officer since 2001, when she was also named to PepsiCo’s board of directors.

She is the fifth CEO in PepsiCo’s 41-year-old history. An alumna of the Indian Institute of Management IIM-Calcutta (IIM-C), she brings with her vast and unique skills to the job.

She has directed the company’s global strategy for over a decade and was the primary architect of PepsiCo’s restructuring, including the divestiture of its restaurants into the successful Yum brand.

She was instrumental in the spin-off and public offering of company-owned bottling operations into anchor bottler Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG), acquiring Tropicana, and the merger with Quaker Oats that brought the Quaker and the sports drink Gatorade businesses to PepsiCo.

Recently, she has been driving critical cross-business initiatives to enhance operations and enable PepsiCo to meet the changing needs of consumers and retailers.

Prior to joining the Purchase, New York-based company, she held senior management positions in Motorola and ABB. She had started her career in 1980 with the Boston Consulting Group.

Born in Chennai, India, she graduated in science from the Madras Christian College. After doing her MBA from IIM-C, she did her graduation in management from Yale University.

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Fortune magazine had named her among the “50 most powerful women in America”. In 2005, Wall Street Journal named her in its list of 50 women to watch.

Nooyi also serves on the boards Motorola, the International Rescue Committee, and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut, with her husband, Raj, and their two daughters.