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Lessons from retiring Sh389 billion growth in profit CEO



If you are looking to forge a successful career and become a household name then it would be wise to borrow a leaf from the experienced guard, trailblazers and those who have seen it all.

PepsiCo Chairperson Indra Nooyi is an acclaimed Indian American business executive, she’s achieved everything and has dared to defy.

She stepped down as CEO of the beverage maker on October 2, 2018.
After tendering her retirement letter, she penned a letter detailing lessons that people ought to learn from her 12 year stint as chief executive of Pepsico, the letter was tailored for staff and colleagues but it draws important skills that anyone keen to learn should adopt.

Before delving into the letter it is important to understand who Ms. Nooyi is and her achievements.

Indra Nooyi is the current chairperson of PepsiCo’s board of directors, a position she has held for 12 years and 2 months. Between October 2006 and October 2018, she was both the chairperson of the board and CEO of the second largest food and beverage business in the world. She joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named Chief Finance Officer (CFO) in 2001.

The corporate magnate has a Bachelor of Science from Madras Christian College, a Masters in Business Administration from The Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta as well as a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale University.


She has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2014, she was ranked at number 13 on the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women and was ranked the 2nd most powerful woman on the Fortune list in 2015.

Nooyi was named on Wall Street Journal’s list of 50 women to watch in 2007 and 2008. She was as well listed among Time’s 100 Most Influential People in The World in 2007 and 2008.

Forbes named her the third most powerful woman in 2008.

During her stint as CFO, the company’s annual net profit rose from Ksh276 billion to Ksh665 billion.

She was largely responsible for the company’s strategy for more than a decade and led PepsiCo’s restructuring, including the 1997 divestiture of Tricon, now known as Yum! Brands, a fast food company. She was also in charge of acquisition of Tropicana, a juice maker in 1998.


Letter to staff

In the letter dated October 2, 2018 she told her former employees and colleagues to learn six things from her experience.

Lesson 1

Always have a clear, compelling vision for what you want to accomplish. As it is written in the Book of Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” And I’ve found that to be true for all of us, no matter our role in the company.

Lesson 2

Second, focus on the short-term and the long-term. Yes, you need to hit your short-term targets, but always try to do so in a way that’s sustainable over the long haul, a way that balances the company’s level and duration of returns, a way that generates a profit while also making a difference, always advancing the values of performance with purpose.

Lesson 3

Third, bring people along with you. No matter how smart your strategy, success or failure usually comes down to one thing: the team. In everything you do, find teammates who can help execute your vision and empower them to succeed.

Lesson 4

Fourth, be good listeners. When someone gives you feedback, assume positive intent. Assume they’re genuinely trying to help. Think their words over, and be willing to challenge your assumptions. I promise, it will make you better associates and better people.

Lesson 5
Fifth, be lifelong students. Our world is changing rapidly all around us, and if you want to continue to thrive in the years ahead, you’ll need to continually educate yourself. However you do it, make your ongoing education a priority.

Lesson 6
Finally, think hard about time. We have so little of it on this earth. Make the most of your days and make space for the loved ones who matter most. Take it from me. I’ve been blessed with an amazing career, but if I’m being honest, there have been moments I wish I’d spent more time with my children and family. So, I encourage you: be mindful of your choices on the road ahead.

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