“I Worked Harder Than All The Men” Nooyi

April 18th 2011- CNN’s Fareed Zakaria hosted Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo during Sunday April 17th 2011 Global Public Square

“Fortune” magazine has named her the most powerful woman in business in 2010, also in 2009, also in 2008, 2007, and 2006.

We at Women eNews Kenya followed the interview with keen interest, we re-produce for you part of the interview about this amazing Indian lady who says she worked harder than all the men to get where she is

She’s an Indian-born scientist who for the last five years has been the boss of 300,000 people worldwide

________________________________________

Indra Nooyi is the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
________________________________________

She calls herself chairman, not chairwoman or chairperson. She says that is the job title. She’s an Indian-born scientist who for the last five years has been the boss of 300,000 people worldwide, running a company with $60 billion in annual revenue.

You will want to hear her thoughts on the present and her ideas for the future.

ZAKARIA: You think about leadership, what do you think about President Obama as a leader?

NOOYI: I think he’s a remarkable individual, but let me put this in context, Fareed. Just imagine that you are the CEO of a company. Just bear with me for a while, while I talk you through the story. Imagine you are the CEO of a company and your executive team, half want you to succeed, half want you to fail.

ZAKARIA: Republicans and Democrats.

NOOYI: Yes. And then imagine that your functional team, you can’t hire them without the approval of your executive team.

ZAKARIA: Half of whom want you to fail.

NOOYI: That’s exactly right. Also imagine that every word you say is debated in the public media every minute of the day. Also remember that your board of directors is a fragmented group who really cannot get together to fire the executive team if they don’t tow your line.

ZAKARIA: The American public.

NOOYI: That’s exactly right. That’s the environment in which the president of the United States is working today. It’s not as if the president is maintaining a successful country. The president is turning around a difficult situation. So all things considered, you’d say he’s doing a pretty good job.

ZAKARIA: When you look at the American economy right now, you have a very unusual perspective because PepsiCo and its products are sold all over the country, all over the world. What do you see? How is the American economy doing?

NOOYI: I must say, Fareed, since last year and the changes from last year to this year, pretty significant. If you asked me this question last year, I would have said the underbelly of the economy was very, very weak.

People are shopping a little bit differently in the last couple of quarters and we are seeing this across the whole country. So that’s the good news.

Now let me give you the other side. In all of these economic analyses, there are two sides to everything. The other side is that you still have that worker who is without a job, but if you took the average, the average is better now than it was in 2010.

ZAKARIA: I’m going to ask her about being the most powerful woman in the world according to “Fortune” magazine.

NOOYI: In my case, I think I did my part, Fareed. I worked my tail off. I work harder than any of the men out there, but I didn’t do it because I was a woman. I did it because that’s the only way I know how to work.

ZAKARIA: What does it mean when you have that much power? Is it something you think about that you have this platform and that you want to do something with it?

NOOYI: I think actually the lists when they start ranking you in terms of power or whatever puts an even more – puts a bigger burden on you, Fareed because with all these lists comes an incredible privilege and an incredible responsibility.

The privileged part is easy because you enjoy the attention you get, but you can’t forget the responsibility because you’re running a large enterprise. You’ve got to make sure you run it the right way.

You’ve got to make sure you’re a role model for other women in particular, because I’m a woman CEO. So you have to make sure you remain a role model. So I think this sort of a list and then really putting the focus on me, the responsibility part far outweighs the privilege part.

ZAKARIA: So let’s talk about your running of PepsiCo. You have made a very important series of moves toward healthier snacks, snacks that are good for you, better for you. Yet right now you received the news that your core brand, Pepsi, has been edged out by Diet Coke. Diet Coke is now the number two brand in America.

Do you worry that the bet that Americans will want healthier food products was either wrong or premature? Will you continue to go down that line? How do you manage the tension between keeping your core brand and trying moving into this new healthier space?

NOOYI: Great question. So PepsiCo is a $63 billion company. Half the company is snacks and half the company is beverages. We have a glorious snacks business and a glorious beverage business. We are extremely profitable. We are growing.

We deliver top tier financial returns. We generate enormous cash for shareholders, phenomenal returns and our core, we are a snacks and beverages company. Twenty percent of the company is good for you products — Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Naked Juice, Gatorade for athletes.

The other 80 percent is fun for you, better for you, great tasting snacks and beverages. Our goal is very simple. We think there is a gigantic opportunity in good for you products because those categories are growing in leaps and bounds.

What we want to do is make sure that we capitalize on the opportunity and, you know, go where that pack is going. At the same time, focus on the 80 percent of the core that we have so that we generate the extraordinary profitability that comes from the core.

ZAKARIA: Do you think Americans are getting healthier? You know what foreigners say, they come to America. They see Americans and say they are obese, the statistics bear it out. We have three times the rate of obesity as Europe. They say it is because of the snacks and fast food and high calorie drinks.

NOOYI: I wish the solution was that simple. I can turn it around and say, I’ll give you an example. When I was a kid, I would come home from school, throw my bag, go out to play. My daughter comes home from school, throws her bag, goes to play, but sitting in front of the computer because their definition of play has changed.

They don’t go out to play. They play on the computer with their friends. They can order food through the computer. Lifestyles have changed. So for us, we have to sit back and say, this is an issue that’s of national importance.

How do we bring a coalition of all of the people that can help address the problem and resolve the issue? I think it’s a very simplistic approach when you try to blame one product or one habit as what causes obesity. I think you will never get to an answer this way.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about being a woman. You’re not just a woman CEO of the largest company by market cap who is a woman. You are a woman in India. You are a woman scientist. You’re a chemist by training. You worked as a woman in Motorola, which is a tech company which are notoriously all male atmospheres. Did you feel that you were discriminated against? Did doors close to you? Did you feel like you were always battling some kind of set of restrictions?

NOOYI: I’d say yes and no. In my case, I think I did my part, Fareed. I worked my tail off. I worked harder than any of the men out there, but I didn’t do it because I’m a woman. I did it because that’s the only way I know how to work.

And I think that helped coupled of the fact that I was blessed with so many mentors who came out of the woodwork to voluntary help and volunteer their advice. As long as I was willing to take it, you know, I moved forward.

Do people today face challenges? I think the situation today for women is so much better than it was many, many years ago. In the past we didn’t have the numbers. I think it’s getting better.

For companies like ours, if we didn’t make PepsiCo an inclusive company that’s friendly to women, we are basically saying 50 percent of the work force we’re not going to tap into. We can’t afford to function that way.

ZAKARIA: How do you resolve the work-life balance? You have kids.

NOOYI: Yes.

ZAKARIA: How did you manage to do it all?

NOOYI: I don’t know what is work and what is life. That’s the first problem because sometimes going home is work and coming here is life. I think in these positions it blurs between work and life.

I was very lucky, Fareed. I have a husband who completely and totally participates in everything that has to do with the home. Even with this eco-system, I can’t tell you how many sacrifices I have had to make.

ZAKARIA: What are the ones that you think most about?

NOOYI: My daughter is going off to college this fall. I think I was there for most of the important events of her growing up. My first daughter who is now in Washington, D.C. working. I read one of her journals when she was 8 or 10 years and she said, sat at the window, waiting for mom to come home because I wanted to tell her something important.

At 10:00 in the night, she’s not home yet. I’m going to sleep. It breaks your heart, breaks your heart. What did she want to tell me that was so important she sat by the window reading until 10:00 at night?

Things like that just break your heart. But then, you just sort of push it aside, push the guilt aside and say, I did the best I could. I can’t just keep living on guilt and get on with life.

ZAKARIA: So you’re full of ideas and they are very broad. Do you think sometimes that you should, after PepsiCo go to Washington and implement some of the ideas?

NOOYI: Do I have to go to Washington to implement some of these ideas? You know, as the CEO, I can consecrate a lot of ideas and I can be part of commissions and coalitions that take these ideas and then do something with it.

So at this point I love running PepsiCo. It’s just a great company. We are on a journey and it feels good running this company. I think I’m more useful to the country as a CEO because I create jobs. I maintain the jobs. I grow the jobs and keep the successful enterprise going. I want to contribute. I want to contribute to the country. I’m willing to contribute any shape or form all these ideas.

ZAKARIA: So President Obama should perhaps call you if there is a second term?

NOOYI: To do what? Give my ideas in a commission? Sure, anytime.

ZAKARIA: More than that?

NOOYI: I think I am committed to running PepsiCo for many, many more years, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: A pleasure to have you on.

NOOYI: Thank you, Fareed. Thank you very much.

Find the full version here http://edition.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1104/17/fzgps.01.html


Advertisements

One Response

  1. […] “I Worked Harder Than All The Men” Nooyi (ladyenews.wordpress.com) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: