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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"If all you want is to screw this company down tight and get double-digit earnings growth and nothing else, then I’m the wrong person…companies today are bigger than many economies. We are little republics. We are engines of efficiency. If companies don't do [responsible] things, who is going to? Why not start making change now?"

- Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo, Inc.

"If you look at the job entirely from the American perspective, then it becomes impossible to run a global business…you have to relate your interests to the interests of other parts of the world - to be relevant in their societies. Indra seems to understand this instinctively."

- Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State, United States of America.

Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi (Nooyi), chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP), considered one of the most highly influential CEOs in the world, was for five consecutive years from 2006 at the very top of the list of the 50 most powerful women prepared by the Fortune magazine.1 PEP - one of the 500 biggest companies in the world -- manufactured, distributed, and marketed a range of food and beverage items, with revenues in excess of US$57 bn from 200 countries, for the fiscal year ended December 25, 2010. Nooyi rose through the ranks after joining PEP in 1994 as its chief strategic officer. She went on to shatter the glass ceiling when she was appointed its CEO in 2006. During her tenure, the firm took a serious look at the health issues involved with its products and redefined its links with business and society.

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

She was regarded as the creator of PEP's growth strategy, 'Performance with Purpose', that strove to balance strong financial returns with giving back to communities all over the world. As part of the strategy, PEP offered a range of choices that were healthy, convenient, and fun while reducing their impact on the environment and promoting an inclusive culture at the workplace. In line with this strategy, PEP was listed both on the Dow Jones North America Sustainability Index and Dow Jones World Sustainability Indexes.2 "I have been particularly impressed by her willingness to do the right thing for her employees and consumers... I believe that all socially responsible companies could learn from Indra Nooyi's style of leadership...," said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Co. Rosabeth Moss Kanter3 described Nooyi as a visionary who was cross-cultural, female, and values-driven, whose approach would be required in this era of globalization, where an individual's problems belonged to everyone else.

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1] Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc.
2] The Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes was launched in 1999 and were the first global indexes for tracking financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies all over the world.
3] Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a professor at the Harvard Business School.

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