When the Indian Prime Minister and the US President both claimed that Indra Nooyi was one of their
Indian-American Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, still vividly remembers a meeting in 2009 with then-US President Barack Obama and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during of which both said: “she is one of us”.
I Belong To Both Worlds, Nooyi, 65, born in Chennai, writes in her new memoir My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future, recalling the memorable events of November 2009 when Obama hosted Singh for his first state dinner.
In the memoir, due out in bookstores next Tuesday, Nooyi describes the events that shaped her life from childhood until she became CEO of Pepsico, a position she retired from in 2018.
One foggy Tuesday in November 2009, after hours of meetings in Washington, DC, with two dozen American and Indian business executives, I found myself between the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of India, she writes in the introduction of the dissertation which spans over 300 pages.
Barack Obama and Manmohan Singh entered the room to take stock of our group’s progress, and President Obama began to introduce the US team to his Indian counterpart. When it happened to me, Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, Prime Minister Singh exclaimed: Oh! But she is one of us!
And the president, with a big smile and without wasting time, replied: Ah, but she too is one of us!
It is a moment that I never forget the spontaneous kindness of the leaders of the two great countries who have given me so much, wrote Nooyi in the memoirs, a copy of which was obtained by the PTI.
A first look at the final version of #MyLifeinFull. It’s surreal to keep this beautiful hardcover book in the room where this project started over 20 months ago. I am so excited to start a new part of this journey together on 09/28. Pre-order your copy today: https://t.co/YbiEaU4fB7 pic.twitter.com/lTH9rN7lDy
– Indra Nooyi (@IndraNooyi) August 31, 2021
I am still the girl who grew up in a close family in Madras, South India, and I am deeply connected to the lessons and culture of my youth. I am also the woman who came to the United States at the age of twenty-three to study and work and somehow came to head an iconic company, a trip which, in my opinion, is only possible in America. I belong to both worlds, she writes, recounting her immigrant story.
From a sari-clad intern at Booz Allen Hamilton to CEO of Pepsico, Nooyi writes that the business world has improved dramatically for women in the United States since she began her professional career.
Nooyi writes that more recently the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up campaigns have had a profound impact on exposing the degree to which women are subjected to sexual violence and harassment. The movement and the campaigns have created a necessary community for the survivors, she observes.
I have never been sexually assaulted. I witnessed and heard about many male behaviors during my early years in the corporate world that offended my sense of decency and my values. Later, I made it a priority to end the offensive behavior as soon as I saw it or became known, Nooyi writes.
Nooyi says that after becoming president of PepsiCo, she asked the compliance department to immediately address harassment complaints filed with their anonymous line Speak Up.
We were quick to fire the confirmed stalkers, she wrote.
In the book, she laments that women hold only 26 percent of board seats in American companies.
In my opinion, companies should consider setting term limits for board members of fifteen and a mandatory retirement age of seventy-two. Immediately, they could also expand their boards of one or two members to make room for qualified people who better understand the issues facing working women and young families, she said.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)