- She joins an all-star list which includes former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the National Women’s Hall of Fame announced March 8 its 2021 class, with nine individuals named, including former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi. She joins an all-star list which includes former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama; women’s soccer icon Mia Hamm; NASA scientist and mathematician the late Katherine Johnson, late author Octavia Butler; artist, author, feminist, educator and intellectual Judy Chicago; Native American poet, musician, playwright, painter and author Joy Harjo; 19th and early 20th century activist Emily Howland, and retired Brig. Gen. Rebecca Halstead.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame inducts a new class every other year in Seneca Falls, New York, the site of the first women’s rights convention. It is the United States’ oldest membership organization dedicated to honoring and celebrating the achievements of distinguished American women. The Class of 2021 is set to be inducted on Oct. 2.
In response to the news, Nooyi tweeted her joy at the honor. “From Maya Angelou to @BillieJeanKing & Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the trailblazers in the @WomenoftheHall paved a path for generations of women, myself included. It’s an honor to join the 2021 Inductee Class on#InternationalWomensDay alongside such an inspiring group.”
In 2006, the Chennai-born Nooyi became the first female CEO in PepsiCo’s history, shattering the glass ceiling and making waves. Today, she is considered one of the most powerful women in business. Nooyi, who was instrumental in the lucrative restructuring and diversification of soft-drink giant PepsiCo, Inc.’s brands, served as the company’s CEO (2006–18) and chairman of the board (2007–19). During the Indian American executive’s tenure at PepsiCo, the company grew its net revenue by more than 80 percent, and PepsiCo’s total shareholder return was 162 percent.
According to her bio, under Nooyi’s leadership at PepsiCo expanded significantly, acquiring Tropicana Products Inc., merging with Quaker Oats Company and PepsiCo’s anchor bottlers, and acquiring the Russian company Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods, resulting in the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo’s history. In addition to her success as CEO, Nooyi was the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s pledge to do what’s right for the business by being responsive to the needs of the world.
Nooyi earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Madras Christian College in 1976 and a master’s degree in business administration from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, two years later. After moving to the United States, she received an additional master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Management in 1980. For the next six years, Nooyi worked as a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group. She later held executive positions at Motorola, Inc., and the engineering firm Asea Brown Boveri (now ABB).
In 1994, Nooyi joined PepsiCo as senior vice president of corporate strategy and development. In 2001 she was named president and chief financial officer of the company. After 24 years with PepsiCo and 12 years as its first female CEO, Nooyi stepped down from her role in 2018. Nooyi was also inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015.