Indra Nooyi is an Optimist

We chatted with the former PepsiCo CEO about crypto, support structures for thriving families, how she came to love pizza, and much more.

Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi (Shravya Kag for The Juggernaut)

Snigdha Sur


March 7, 2022


19 min

Indra Nooyi, now 66, was born in Madras to a family that encouraged her and her two siblings to keep learning. She would graduate from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, one of the few women to go to business school, before working at a British textiles company and at Johnson & Johnson to help launch sanitary pads in India. She then moved to New Haven to study at the relatively new Yale School of Management.

In the U.S., she worked for years in management consulting at BCG before moving on to corporate strategy and planning at Motorola, industrials company ABB, and PepsiCo. PepsiCo would promote her to CFO, and later CEO. During her time at the iconic food and beverage company, she saw everything from the spinout of restaurant brands Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC to the acquisition of Quaker Oats to the implementation of Performance with Purpose, which envisioned a more healthful product portfolio and more sustainable practices. She stepped down as chairperson of PepsiCo in 2019, after serving as CEO from 2006 to 2018. 

India has awarded Nooyi the Padma Bhushan, its third-highest civilian award. Nooyi is married to Raj and has two daughters, Preetha and Tara. She loves the Yankees, cricket, and playing the guitar. She also sits on the boards of Amazon and the MIT Corporation.

We sat down with Indra Nooyi to chat about her life and her latest book My Life in Full. We have edited the below conversation for length and clarity. 

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