2023 Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award Recipient

Indra Nooyi

indra nooyi headshot

Indra Nooyi is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo (2006–2019), a Fortune 50 company with operations in more than 180 countries. 

In this role, Nooyi was the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s pledge to do what’s right for the business by being responsive to the needs of the world around it. As part of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo was focused on delivering sustained growth by expanding its portfolio to include more nutritious products, limiting its environmental footprint, and empowering its associates and people in the communities it serves. During her tenure, PepsiCo grew net revenue more than 80%, and PepsiCo’s total shareholder return was 162% beating the S&P over the same period. 

Prior to becoming CEO, Nooyi served as PepsiCo’s president and chief financial officer and was a member of the company’s board of directors. She was responsible for corporate functions, including finance, strategy, business process optimization, corporate platforms and innovation, procurement, investor relations and information technology. Between 1994 and 2000, Nooyi directed corporate strategy and development for the company. 

Before joining PepsiCo in 1994, Nooyi spent four years as Senior Vice President of Strategy, Planning and Strategic Marketing for Asea Brown Boveri, a Zurich-based company. She was part of the top management team responsible for the company’s U.S. business as well as its worldwide industrial businesses, representing about $10 billion of ABB’s $30 billion in global sales. 

Between 1986 and 1990, Nooyi worked for Motorola, where she was Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning, having joined the company as the business development executive responsible for its automotive and industrial electronics group. Prior to Motorola, she spent six years directing international corporate strategy projects at The Boston Consulting Group. Her clients ranged from textiles and consumer goods companies to retailers and specialty chemicals producers. Nooyi began her career in India, where she held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell, Ltd., a textile firm. 

Nooyi served as a member of the PepsiCo Board of Directors from 2001 to February 2019. Nooyi is now a member of the board of Amazon, where she chairs the audit committee. She sits on the supervisory board of Philips and is a member of the nominating and corporate governance committee. She also serves on the International Advisory Council of Temasek; is an independent director of the International Cricket Council; and a trustee at the National Gallery of Art. She is on the Dean’s Advisory Council at MIT’s School of Engineering and serves on the boards of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Partnership for Public Service. She is also an advisor to several early-stage companies. 

Between 2019–2022, Nooyi served as the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at West Point where she worked with the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership to fulfill the mission of character at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She was also co-chair of The Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, developing recommendations and guidelines for reactivating the state’s economy post-pandemic. 

Nooyi is the author of the book My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future, a memoir that offers insight and a call-to-action on how our society can blend work and family — and advance women — in the 21st century. My Life in Full is a New York Times bestseller and available in multiple languages. 

She is the recipient of 15 honorary degrees. In 2007, the Government of India awarded her the Padma Bhushan, the country’s 3rd highest civilian honor. In that same year, she was named an “Outstanding American by choice” by the US State Department. In 2019, her portrait was inducted into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, and in 2021 she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts of Sciences, the Academy of Science and the American Philosophical Society. She is a revered role model for women and immigrants and celebrated for her empowering messages on inclusivity. 

Nooyi holds a B.S. from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University. Nooyi is married and has two daughters.