Diverse former CEO a must-see for leaders keen to embrace the future
"If companies wait another 20 years to make meaningful strides on this front, they’ll be left in the dust by competitors who are fully embracing diversity as a means to increase innovation and revenue." Forbes article, May 10, 2019
She’s a woman, she’s Indian-born and raised, she’s a mother, and she was also named one of the "Best CEOs In The World" by CEOWORLD magazine.
It's a bio that may become increasingly familiar, as companies look to diversity in leadership to give their organisations the best chance of success.
And, for CEOs attending the June dinner events in Melbourne and Sydney with former CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi, it's a rare chance to not only ask questions of a global business leader, but to see and hear what this new future might offer them.
- The business landscape will look dramatically different in coming decades. By embracing people’s differences, we can spark innovation, better understand and serve our customers and gain competitive advantage. (Anka Wittenberg, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at SAP in Entrepreneur magazine)
- Diverse teams make innovation possible. (Apple)
- Diversity is a competitive differentiator shifting market share toward more diverse companies. (McKinsey)
- When companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are more successful. (McKinsey)
- Workplace diversity has an impact on social good. (Todd L. Pittinsky, Stony Brook University)
- “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” — Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google
She’ll also offer learnings from her extraordinary story of her rise to the top of the business world and the challenges once at the head of the Fortune 50 company, and her appointment to the boards of Amazon, the World Economic Forum, and the International Cricket Council.
In the 12 years since Indra Nooyi took over as CEO in 2006, PepsiCo's revenue increased from $35bn to more than $63bn, while the share price increased by almost 80%.
She says increasing the diversity of her team was a business imperative.
“Whether you are a male CEO or a female CEO, it is a business imperative,” Nooyi in quoted in an interview with CNBC’s Sara Eisen. “Because if you look at graduating seniors from colleges, more than 50 percent are women. More than 50 percent!”
“So if you really want companies to be successful, we have got to draw from the entire pool, not just try to say, ‘Hey, we are going to exclude a portion of the population.’”
Nooyi has spoken publicly about her assertiveness when taking on senior executive roles at PepsiCo. This included being allowed to bring her children into the office.
“If they didn't want me because they didn't want kids running around, then get somebody else, get a guy who couldn't do the job as well,” she told the 2019 Women in the World Summit, according to Financial Express.
Ultimately, diversity in leadership and the workplace is about seeing the person in front of you as a human being, complete with the benefits and complexity that goes with that.
As Indra Nooyi has said, as reported in Chandamama:
“You need to look at the employee and say, ‘I value you as a person. I know that you have a life beyond PepsiCo, and I’m going to respect you for your entire life, not just treat you as employee number 4,567’.”
An Evening with Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo former CEO and Chair, and recently announced new Amazon board member, will be held in both Melbourne and Sydney in June 2019, hosted by The Growth Faculty. To secure a table click here.
Members receive discounts to events hosted by The Growth Faculty. To become a member and get access to our popular online business book club, with interviews with international business authors and highlights from past speaker events, click here.
Image at top: Gates Foundation Co-Founder Bill Gates and former PepsiCo CEO and Chair Indra Nooyi speaking on the transformative power of technology at the 2017 Bloomberg Global Business Forum, at The Plaza Hotel in New York City.