Immigrant Profile: Indra Nooyi


Indra Nooyi was born on October 28, 1955, as Indra Krishnamurthy in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, to a conservative middle-class family. Her father was a bank official. In 1974 she earned bachelor’s degrees in physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the Madras Christian College of the University of Madras, India, as well as a postgraduate diploma from Indian Institute of Management Calcutta in 1978.

Immigration to the United States

Nooyi began working for Johnson & Johnson and quickly realized that she needed to acquire a stronger business education. She moved to the United States to attend the Yale School of Management in 1978 and graduated from Yale in 1980 with a master’s degree in public and private management. After graduation she worked at Booz Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Motorola (as vice president of corporate strategy and planning) and Asea Brown Boveri.

Professional Background & Achievements

Nooyi began her employment with PepsiCo in 1994 as the senior vice president of corporate strategy and development. For a number of years, she worked with the CEO, Roger Enrico, to shape the company’s expansion and growth strategies. Nooyi was later made the chief financial officer (CFO) in 2000 and after one year became the president of the company.

PepsiCo’s CEO Steve Reinemund retired in 2006, leaving Nooyi to become the fifth CEO of PepsiCo in its history. In her time at PepsiCo, Nooyi directed the company’s global strategy and led to its expansion, restructuring, and divestiture of restaurants. She played a major role in the acquisition of Tropicana and the merger of the Quaker Oats Company with PepsiCo, making the merged company the world’s fourth-largest consumer goods company. After stepping down from the CEO position at PepsiCo in 2018, Nooyi stayed on as its chairperson until 2019, at which point she became co-director of the Connecticut Department and Community Development. As of 2020, she also is one of two representatives for Connecticut as it plans for easing its COVID-19 restrictions.

Contributions to the U.S. Economy

Nooyi consistently ranked among Forbes magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Business. For five years in a row, from 2006 to 2010, she topped the annual list at number one. During her time at PepsiCo, the company’s sales grew 80%.

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