Indra Nooyi: A Transcultural Leader

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN076
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2006-2011
Pub Date : 2011
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : PepsiCo.
Industry : Consumer Packaged Goods
Countries : Europe; US; Global

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Her Early Years

Nooyi was born on October 28, 1955 in Chennai, India. She was heavily influenced by her stay-at-home mother, Shantha Krishnamoorthy (Shantha), whom she considered the first management teacher in her life. Though she had a conservative South Indian upbringing, there were many contrasting influences in her life. Observers noted that though she belonged to a Hindu home, she went to a Roman Catholic School. Nooyi admitted that Shantha "encouraged us but held us back, told us we could rule the country as long as we kept the home fires burning." Observers described how Shantha would remind a young Nooyi that she would get her married at the age of eighteen, while also giving her daughter the freedom to dream about rising high in life.

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Nooyi noted that she was made to compete with her sister for a piece of chocolate after meals, with questions like "What will you do if you were to become a prime minister?" or, "How would you change the world?" Nooyi believed that this process encouraged her to think, and made her come up with different ideas in order to get the reward. Another influence was her grandfather, who kept a tab on her scholastic progress while ensuring that she was always prepared in advance with her lessons. Nooyi recalled that while she was taught Indian classical music, she also had the permission to be part of a rock band where she played the guitar....

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