An evening with Indra Nooyi

By Our Reporter
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Nikhil Daftary with Indra Nooyi

The former CEO of PepsiCo opens up about being an immigrant

Leading Australian business events provider, The Growth Faculty, brought former PepsiCo head Indra Nooyi to Australia for two exclusive dinner events designed to inspire and inform Australian business leaders.

Recognised as a true business powerhouse, Indra Nooyi directed PepsiCo’s global strategy for more than a decade. Nooyi’s forward thinking and adaptive response to business conditions and consumer expectations allowed her to grow the brand’s revenue from $35 billion to $63.5 billion and share price by 78%.

Guests at the iconic Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre were awed by cricket enthusiast Nooyi who also toured Australia’s famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. Nooyi, recently appointed as the ICC’s first female Independent Director, grew up a keen cricketer, learning many lessons about leadership, teamwork and cooperation.

Host Adam Spencer welcomed guests with his unique style. After an energetic performance by the String Sirens, mains were served before a sponsor presentation by T20 World Cup 2020 CEO, Nick Hockley.

The second evening with Nooyi was held at the Grand Ballroom at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

“Most immigrants have a fear that things may not work out. Interestingly, it’s never gone, even today, 40 years later. I don’t think I am an exception”

“Most immigrants have a fear that things may not work out. Interestingly, it’s never gone, even today, 40 years later. I don’t think I am an exception,” said Nooyi, who has appeared twice on Time’s ‘100 Most Influential People In The World’ list and held the top spot on Fortune’s ‘50 Most Powerful Women In Business’ list for four consecutive years between 2006 and 2010.

She described the fear that things could be taken away at any time, and the embarrassment of having to answer to her failures to those in her birth country. Despite her success, the fear remains.

As for CEO succession as a process, Nooyi said she was more worried about her legacy than about her performance as a CEO. The first of her tips was to tell others to identify the mega trends of the industry, and determine what moves had to be made to address them.

“This process is not about intuition or experience, but rather about getting all the facts. You’d be surprised how many of those trends you’re ignoring or not addressing,” she said.

Just because you’re a CEO, doesn’t absolve you of the responsibility of getting the details.

“Inside companies, we have to address this issue of conscious and unconscious bias…you strip those people, you slowly strip them of their confidence, and when you strip them of their confidence, you strip away their competence”

Questions from the audience led to a discussion about balancing family/work life, and the difficulties women and minorities face in the workplace.

“Inside companies, we have to address this issue of conscious and unconscious bias…you strip those people, you slowly strip them of their confidence, and when you strip them of their confidence, you strip away their competence,” said Nooyi.

The Growth Faculty is proud to present a selection of high quality conversations and workshops, including our upcoming half-day workshop with Brene Brown.

 

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