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Indra Nooyi thanks her mother for her success

January 24, 2014 17:49 IST

Indra Nooyi thanks her mother for her success

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Barun Jha in Davos

In the midst of business talks and meetings, India-born Indra Nooyi on Friday recalled how her views underwent a sea change after a visit to her mother in Chennai soon after she became PepsiCo chief in 2006.

While talking about the need for CEOs to engage and bond with the employees at a personal level, Nooyi said, "When I became CEO in 2006, I went to visit my mother in Chennai. The next morning she asked me to wake up and I said I am on vacation and want to sleep till noon, but she refused and said people were coming home".

"When friends and relatives came, they all told my mother that she had got a great daughter. But it is not about me, but about my parents who brought me up so well," Nooyi said.

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Image: Indra Nooyi
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com

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Nooyi, who is PepsiCo's Chairman and CEO, is in Davos to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting.

"So when I came back, I wrote to parents of all my directors thanking them for bringing up their respective children so well that I got them as directors. It was an emotional decision and all of them replied very emotionally," she said.

Narrating another incident, Nooyi said there was an individual whom the company was trying to hire but he had another offer. Since the company was very keen on hiring him, Nooyi said she spoke to the individual's mother.

"I called her (his mother) and when he went home, he told her mother he had two offers but he would not join PepsiCo. But her mother insisted that he should join PepsiCo and he had to join us," she said, leaving the audience totally amused and sending the audience into peals of laughter.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Indra Nooyi thanks her mother for her success

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According to the PepsiCo chief, it is bad to see that parents today pay tuition fees for their children, but do not see their report cards. "I have always insisted on getting the report cards," she said.

Talking about the young population, Nooyi said she has got two of them at home and this generation is well-informed.

"I hear my own daughters talking about big companies polluting the environment and then I realise they are talking about companies of which one I am running.

"But when I tell them to read the things we are doing, then they realise we are doing good things. But millennials are really a great lot," she observed.

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Image: Indra Nooyi with her daughter.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com
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On social media, Nooyi said it has actually made things worse for the public life of people.

"Someone told me that whatever you do, will be in public domain. It is not easy to accept that whenever we go out, we have to be always conscious about what we are talking, what we are doing, what we are wearing.

"It is not easy living in that little glass house. Many people on social media do not have accountability. All of us CEOs are learning to live in this environment, as this is the real life today. It is like a reality show for all of us," she said. 


Photographs: Reuters

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