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Nooyi on her toughest decision & her Pepsi family

Text: Suman Guha Mozumder in New York

April 16, 2009

In sharp contrast to her peers, PepsiCo chief executive officer Indra Nooyi plays the virtual mother figure in the 197,000-strong company, listening to employees' personal problems patiently, and giving them personal advice.

In response to a question by Asia Society president Vishakha Desai on whether her being a woman makes a bigger difference in her leadership style or is it that being an Indian she considers every PepsiCo employee a part of her family where she is the matriarch, Nooyi said: "I do not know if I can separate the two. But the way I approach this job I just look at people in PepsiCo as part of my family and I am the matriarch of the family."

Nooyi, one of the top ten most influential women in the world, said that she shares a warm relation with her employees and even the company's security guards do not hesitate to share their personal problems with her if she sees somebody sporting a worried face and asks what the matter is.

"He would talk to me at length and even if I have no time I would not walk away just because I am the CEO. And I would ask him if I could do anything to help," Nooyi said.

Image: PepsiCo chief executive officer Indra Nooyi with Asia Society president Vishakha Desai at an Asia Society event in New York. | Photograph: Paresh Gandhi

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