Indra Nooyi features in Fortune’s list of Top 100 CEOs
Chennai-born Indra Nooyi has consistently been lauded for a number of reasons, from her steady rise to the top of the corporate world to her sound business decisions, which resulted in profits for PepsiCo, to her comfortable style of communication with her employees. Nooyi is one of those rare individuals whose success can be 100% attributed to personal skill, determination, and dedication, all of which resulted in her becoming the CEO of the second largest food and beverage company in the world in 2011. While much can be said about Nooyi’s personal success, the fact that she ranks as the only Indian-origin CEO in a recent demographic presented by Forbes, and is also one of only 8% of women featured on the list, is both worthy of praise, and also cause for concern. The demographic shows a paltry 8% of women constitute a thin slice of the pie while 92% of male CEOs take control of the majority. The list comes as a double-edged sword at a time when the buzz around needing to infuse more women power into the workplace is at an all time high. Fellow power women such as Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg, Arianna Huffington and others have constantly voiced the need for more attention to women in the corporate sphere, while Nooyi herself is a regular guest at events and shows where she shares her tips for success and pushes the need for more commitment towards matters outside the home front. It is positive to note that Nooyi’s name ranks among some of the most powerful business heads in the world. Her name features alongside other powerful women such as Ginni Rometty of IBM, Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin, Meg Whitman of HP, Patricia A Woertz of Archers Daniels Midlands, Ellen J.Kullman of DuPont, Phebe N Novakovic of General Dynamics, and Irene Rosenfield of Mondelez International. Together these women represent the 8% of the most powerful businesswomen on the list. The fact that they have earned this honor is worthy of respect, however the fact that there are such few women like them, is something which needs to be changed. If anyone were to be considered as a role model to women as to how hard work and sincerity pay off in a big way, Indra Nooyi would be an apt example. She rose from the middle class and won a scholarship to Yale School of Management when her parents told her they could not afford the fees. She learned from her mistakes and stuck to her instincts while keeping the doors of communications open with colleagues and associates. She truly deserves the honor of being considered as one of the most powerful CEOs, and her story should serve to inspire countless other women, Indian and otherwise, to fight for their right to be recognized in the corporate sphere, and to increase the representation of women in business.