Indra Nooyi, Former CEO of PepsiCo, on Nurturing Talent in Turbulent Times

Indra Nooyi, Former CEO of PepsiCo, on Nurturing Talent in Turbulent Times

By Adi Ignatius


For episode 2 of the HBR video series “The New World of Work”, editor in chief Adi Ignatius sits down with former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Noori, to discuss her ideas for how the corporate world needs to evolve. She pushes for leaders to realize the importance of their role in setting the tone to achieve equitable workplaces. Diversity is about numbers, she says, while inclusiveness is a mindset–a mindset that needs to come from the top. She also talks about steps necessary to realize a more humane form of capitalism, one that realizes that workers are the engines of the economy and that they all come from families, communities, and larger contexts that need to be part of the discussion around what fair work looks like.


Indra Nooyi has ideas for how the corporate world needs to evolve. HBR editor in chief Adi Ignatius sat down with the former CEO and chairman of PepsiCo to discuss the power of purpose in driving the strategy, triumphs, and setbacks she experienced as one of the few women running a Fortune 500 company, and how important leadership is for creating truly inclusive workplaces. She urges us to think about how to take care of all workers, at all phases of the supply chain, with a focus on paid leave, and reminds us not to forget essential workers in our discussions about the future of the workplace.

This interview is the second in a new video series called “The New World of Work,” which will explore how top-tier executives see the future and how their companies are trying to set themselves up for success. Each week, Adi will interview a leader on LinkedIn Live — and then share an inside look at those conversations and solicit questions for future discussions in a newsletter just for HBR subscribers. If you’re a subscriber, you can sign up for the newsletter here.


ADI IGNATIUS: We have great guest today: Indra Nooyi. She was born in India. She got her business degree in the US, and is having an amazing career in business, capped by her role as CEO at PepsiCo from 2006 until 2018. At Pepsi, she was probably best known for her Performance with Purpose approach, which was a strategy aimed at driving long-term growth while also trying to have a positive impact on society and the environment. She’s also just published a memoir about her life and work called My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future. So Indra Nooyi, welcome to the show.

INDRA NOOYI: Thank you for having me, Adi. Such a privilege chatting with you.

ADI IGNATIUS: It’s really a privilege to have you here. I read your book and it’s great. It’s very substantive, very personal, and I definitely urge our viewers to check it out. At one point in the book, you said that leaders need to anticipate and respond to shifts in culture. And I’d love to get your thoughts: Where are we right now? What are the big trends that are unfolding that you think will change the way we live and work?

INDRA NOOYI: One of the great things about stepping out as CEO is that you can look at the whole world with a level of objectivity and really understand what could happen to it over the next few years. I believe this pandemic was perhaps the most disruptive event in the lives of most companies, the lives of most people. None of us living on the planet had been through the Spanish Flu of 1918. So, we don’t know what a lockdown, a pandemic-driven shutdown looks like, and we all experienced it as a world. This is the first time three quarters of the world shut down simultaneously. We’re only now slowly coming out of it. And one of the challenges we have is everybody’s looking for answers on what the future of work and the workplace is going to look like, as if we need to make a decision immediately.

I honestly believe, Adi, this is a time we have to think about scenarios, not about one solution, but scenarios, because people got used to working from home. People got fed up of working from home. People saw children at home not going to school. People saw childcare shutting down. So we had many extraneous factors that impacted how people liked or didn’t like working from home. So I would honestly suggest that we take the next year to do a whole bunch of experiments on what the future of work, the future of the workforce and the workplace could be, and then evolve the right model for the right jobs.

Read the rest @





Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *