Pepsi's Sad Scene + The Irreplaceable Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi


I don't like Pepsi. I never endorse it because I don't consume it. For the record I am not a fan of Coca-Cola either. However I am a fan of their corporate governance and how Coca-Cola conducts its progressive branding. Both the beverages are poison so say the least. Despite, Yes, I have my reasons and I have written about it in my blog as well:

Coca-Cola WINS where Pepsi FAILS

But, I adore Indra Krishnamurthy Nooyi. She is a true woman of substance and one of the few women CEOs ( Until recently :-( )to head an American multinational - a behemoth of a brand that is revered by millions around the world and also the raison d'etre why Pepsi flourished as a brand while she was at its helm.

A lot what PepsiCo achieved was because of Indra's determination and business acumen that inspired an ethos that became a revenue-generating enterprise. She didn't start successful, she didn't begin as an expert either but during the course of her career, she achieved greatness. Indeed an inspiring woman, and I will not focus on her titles that many go by describing her - an Indian immigrant who built her American dream with a ferocious tenacity. Because, her talent and ability led her to become PepsiCo's CEO, she was the best person for the job! Period.

And that brings me to this post's actual debate:

PepsiCo veteran Ramon Laguarta to replace Indra Nooyi as CEO

Well, nothing against Ramon's appointment or powerful white men :) Again, I fully believe in the-best-person-for-the-job argument  (hiring for merit) and Ramon will most likely be an able successor to Indra.

But, why aren't companies like PepsiCo grooming more women leaders to become successors for top jobs? Prominent women like Indra who have led companies like PepsiCo, and by virtue of that, gave these companies the critical competitive advantage in a global business landscape - Why is their replacement hardly ever another woman?

I talk a lot about Diversity-By-Design - which is ensuring the breaking of the proverbial glass ceiling for women and other diverse leaders and allowing their talent to flourish with the right mentorship and leadership development opportunities. It is again based on merit and ability, however, allowing room for other dimensions to succeed and not the most visible, available and abundant. I'm sure PepsiCo could have set an example and groomed a woman for No. 2 position. It is not like there is a lack of qualified women veterans in the company?


And, please put your point across but with respect and dignity. 

I believe in equal opportunity and when I say or write "white men", I do not intend to sound derogatory and biased towards them. 

I practice my advocacy for diversity with conviction because I believe weeding out white men in favor of minorities is exclusion itself! But, I am a diversity advocate and I take my passion to help diverse professionals succeed as much as white men, very seriously. 

- Amit Anand