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5 ways the CEO's job will change: Nooyi

May 15, 2009 13:03 IST

5 ways the CEO's job will change: Nooyi

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At a time when the world is reeling under the impact of an economic crisis, Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo chairman and CEO and one of the most influential women in the world, believes that the corporate sector needs to rethink its role and adapt itself with the changing times.

"Aristotle once said that the unexamined life is not worth living. I think it's time to examine what we do once more in the spirit of a critical friend. Let's pause for a moment to consider what we need to examine," she said while addressing a meeting of CEOs at the Economy Club of Washington.

Text: PTI


Image: Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
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Given the bitter experiences of the current economic crisis, the world needs a new breed of CEOs, she said. "I think there are at least five ways in which job description will change," Nooyi said.

  • The CEO has to think long-term.
  • CEOs needs to understand the way public and private sectors are coming together and work constructively within that framework.
  • CEOs need to make the phrase 'think global and act local' more than a cliche.
  • CEOs need to keep an open mind so they can adapt to a rapidly changing world.
  • CEOs need to bring an abundant dose of emotional intelligence to the job.

"The whole perspectives in which companies are viewed needs to shift from short to the long term, and as I would say, to a focus on shapes, not just numbers," she said, adding that a modern company cannot function without private public partnerships.


Image: Indra Nooyi with her daughter in New York City.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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"I think CEOs of the future cannot afford to do business the old way. . . The central skill of the new CEO, in my view, is adaptability," she said.

The company of the future has to be guided by the fact that it owes an obligation back to society. The company of the future has to do better by doing better, she said.

Observing that capitalism has amazing powers of recovery, Nooyi said: "But we all need to accept that the pursuit of short-term performance is not enough. That performance needs to be allied to a purpose. Otherwise, as we have seen, performance disappears too. We all, CEOs of today, members of boards of directors, are under an obligation to change from the short-term view to a sustainable view."

Nooyi said: "We can indeed convert this crisis into a great opportunity. But if we are to do that, it's no use looking at ourselves in the mirror without realizing that the person with the responsibility to lead the change is staring right back at you."

Nooyi is the first Indian American to have reached such a position as PepsiCo boss.


Image: PepsiCo chief executive officer Indra Nooyi with Asia Society president Vishakha Desai in New York.
Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
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