Indra Nooyi’s hidden facets; from a lead guitarist to the Chairperson of PepsiCo

Indra Nooyi's hidden facets; from a lead guitarist to the Chairperson of PepsiCo

The Chairperson & CEO of Pepsi (she has just announced that she will be stepping down from that position by October 2018), is a name to reckon with. A powerful and dynamic leader, Indra has been a regular in Forbes ‘Most Powerful Women’s’ list since 2007. Some incredible firsts are attached to her journey so far. She is only the 5th head in the history of a company that generates about $66 billion in revenue and the first woman Chairperson of Pepsi. She was the 2nd most influential woman leader in the world in 2015.

Indra Nooyi is indeed a power to reckon with. A leader who changed the face of the company and made it a giant that it is today. Indra is a credible woman and her attributes in the corporate sector are many. However, there is a side of her that is as dynamic as her professional one. Her interests, personal trajectory and her growing up days in the by lanes of Chennai are some aspects, that are as inspiring as the others.

Here are some unknown facts about Indra Nooyi.

Early years –
She grew up in Chennai and did her schooling and college from there. After this she completed her Masters’ from IIM, Kolkata and then went to Yale for higher studies.

Since 1978, she has been living in the USA. A proud Indian, she has never been shy of her roots and ethnicity.

While growing up, she played as the lead guitarist in an all girls’ band and also played cricket.

In order to earn the extra buck, Indra worked as a dorm receptionist and took up the night or the graveyard shift.
As a childhood ritual, every night at the dinner table, her mother would ask Indra and her older sister to write a speech about what they would do if they were the president, chief minister or prime minister. Post the speeches, the mother would decide who the winner was.

A journey called ‘Pepsi’ –
Before joining Pepsi, Nooyi worked with brands like Boston Consulting Group, Asea Brown Boveri, Motorola, Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell.
She is the 5th CEO in PepsiCo’s 44-year history and the first woman to be at the helm of affairs.


From the dorm receptionist to the head of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi has come a long way forward. Today, she is worth an approx. $ 144 million. A perfect story of how hard work, passion and commitment has helped a person rise.

Awards and recognition –
In February 2018, the International Cricket Council announced that Nooyi would join the ICC Board as its first independent female director in June.
She was listed on Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People In The World” in 2007 and 2008. She was on the Forbes magazine most influential and powerful women list from 2008 onwards till 2017.
In 2008, Nooyi was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report.
In 2007, Indra Nooyi was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.
The Yale School of Management has named its deanship in honour of Nooyi as she gifted an undisclosed amount to them. This makes her the school’s biggest alumni donor and the first woman to endow a deanship at a top business school.

Personal Life –
She is a karaoke enthusiast and her closest friends and family would vouch for this! She not only enjoys karaoke, but also loves to use this format to sing. Call it her mode of relaxation or a way to get away from the juggles of corporate life; music is indeed a passion in her case.
She is married to Raj K. Nooyi. Together, they have two daughters. She resides in Greenwich, Connecticut.


Her older sister is businesswoman and Grammy-nominated artist Chandrika Krishnamurthy Tandon.

Indeed, an example for many to adopt!

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