Blog: Is PepsiCo's Nooyi eyeing a White House post?

John Shepherd and Katy Askew | 8 July 2016

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has proven an outspoken chief at the snacks-to-soft drinks giant.

She was one of the first executives of a major purveyor of high fat, high sugar products to publicly admit that if PepsiCo didn't change tack it would damage the health of its most loyal customers. Shares may have taken a hit, but time has proven her observations accurate.

Under her leadership the company has taken strides to reformulate products and innovate around better for you platforms. This strategy contributed to PepsiCo's second quarter earnings beat, delivered earlier this week.

Nooyi has also been a vocal proponent of equality for women in the workplace. Speaking at the Women in the World earlier this year, she hit out at colleagues who still call her “sweetie” or “honey”. Even if it does seem hard to imagine Nooyi – a regular feature on Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women – being spoken down to like this, her observations on the need for parity in pay are powerful.

With the possibility of another powerful woman entering the White House, rumours have been circulating that Nooyi could herself be eyeing up a political role. Certainly, such a switch would give her a perfect stage to advance the causes she has spoken up for. 

These whispers were addressed during PepsiCo's investor conference call yesterday (7 July), when it became clear that interest was not confined to the balance sheet or product and investment plans. Investors thrive on certainty, so one analyst wanted to know more about Nooyi's personal aspirations in this US president election year.

Nooyi has long been rumoured to likely be on the receiving end of a possible future call from the White House should Hillary Clinton make it to the Oval Office. The question was: "Can you in any way give us some help in clarifying your future interest between business and politics?"

Nooyi batted the question away with the deftness of a CEO – and all the skill of a potential politician: "In the foreseeable future, next several years, I see myself running PepsiCo," she said.

So that's that then...

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