It shouldn't be surprising that PepsiCo, a quintessentially American company making quintessentially American products, would appoint a CEO who isn't American-born (or male, for that matter). After all, Pepsi gets about 40% of its $35.1 billion in sales of beverages, food and snacks from beyond the U.S. And most of the company's growth is overseas.
For Indra Nooyi, 51, the shocking thing isn't who she is but the world she has inherited. Globalism wasn't new when she joined PepsiCo more than a decade ago, but the globe part has changed. "The world has gone through a radical shift," says Nooyi. "There's incredible macroeconomic stability. That hasn't happened in the last 35 years."
As Pepsi's strategistshe's a former management consultantNooyi helped position PepsiCo for growth in China, the Middle East and her native India. (She is now a U.S. citizen.) "I am a global thinker in everything I do," she says.
Her vision is performance with purpose. It means not just delivering localized productsWalkers crisps in Coventry and Sabritos in Santiago. It's about sustainability on multiple levels: human, talent and environment. Efficient water and energy use has obvious paybacks. But creating a better community? "I need a healthy consumer out there," says Nooyi. "The only way I can do that is sustainability."
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