If PepsiCo can bet on India why can't Indian leaders too, asks Indra Nooyi

In today's world where volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity go hand in hand, it is not enough to be just any other leader. As a CEO of a truly global company, one needs to be willing to always learn new thing to run his or her company keeping with the times, says PepsiCo chairperson & CEO Indra Nooyi in an interview with CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan.<br /><br />

FP Staff November 13, 2013 10:00:24 IST

In today's world where volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity go hand in hand, it is not enough to be just any other leader.As a CEO of a truly global company, one needs to be willing to always learn new thing to run his or her company keeping with the times, says PepsiCo chairperson & CEO Indra Nooyi in an interview with CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan.

Below is the verbatim transcript of Indra Nooyi's interview on CNBC-TV18

Q: What is it like being the CEO of an MNC in today's times?

A: Today's times are volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguity prevails everywhere. Here's a scary part, the amplitude of change is more pronounced and the frequency of change is much more pronounced. So, leadership today cannot be that idiot that you talked about. We need a very refined leader, a very different leader that can actually power a company through these tough times as they call it. What are we looking for? As a CEO, I am finding that I have to become a learning CEO. I have to go to school all the time because I am learning new skills that I need to run this company and I am realising that I am not equipped to just coast, I have to constantly renew my skills.

However, more importantly I have to surround myself with people who can help the company power through these tough times. What are we looking for? We are looking for leaders who are extremely agile, who can go from geopolitical calms to geopolitical crisis, from commodity volatility where commodity prices collapse one day to another time when commodity prices are at an all time high. We have to be able to have leaders who can go from country to country and navigate through issues because big companies like us are global. We need leaders who can work through scarcity. Very often we find that we need leaders who can make something out of nothing. We need leaders who can collaborate. So in a nutshell you are looking for wickedly smart people who are agile, smart, collaborative, who are just the world's greatest leaders in this new model.

Here is the good news. As we look around and look for these people we found that people of Indian origin, people who are educated in India actually rise to the top which is the good part of the whole thing, because agility, everybody in India has to be agile, because you are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world in India all the time. So, people who are trained as leaders here actually do very well in today's world. Indians are very, very flexible they can go anywhere and the most amazing thing is people who are educated in India have an unbelievable ability to network.So they can go to any country, settle down and build relationships very fast. People who have been educated here can also do well on the global stage because you have grown up in a very diverse, multi-culture environment here in India and you can take those skills around the world. The other great thing about people who are educated here is we do not have to search for them. Whether you are from the IITs or the IIMs the Indian education system dishes to foreign companies the best and the brightest.

If PepsiCo can bet on India why cant Indian leaders too asks Indra Nooyi

Reuters

In today's world as we CEOs look for truly global leaders who can pilot through all of the volatility in the world, Indian leaders are rising to the top. So every time we go out to look for leaders there are usually four or five people who have been educated in the IITs or the IIMs that show up. So the big question that I keep asking myself is if people who have been educated in India always bubble up to the top then why is it that these leaders want to leave India? Doesn't India need these leaders? Even if they leave India shouldn't there be a round trip ticket for them to come back to India, so they can help India get to a better place. So I think one of the big issues we should talk about is not just lessons in leadership or what the leaders need to do today but what can India do to bring those leaders back to India, so India itself can become an even more powerful economy going forward.

Q: Pepsi is going to invest Rs 33,000 crore into India by 2020. Is it a coincidence that Coca-Cola is investing about $5 billion around the same period that Pepsi is going to be investing about $5 billion into India as well?

A: Ours is $5.5 billion. The beverage industry has two great companies and two great companies collectively are going to invest $10.5 billion in India. I think everybody likes to make it a competition between two companies. We have to look and say between two companies one a diversified food and beverage company and other a beverage company - we are going to be investing U$10.5 billion into India over the next 6-7 years. It is great for India. It is going to provide jobs. It is going to provide tremendous investments, supply chain manufacturing, so all of us collectively should sit back and say isn't it great that two US-based multinationals, truly global companies are showing their confidence in India. I think that is the discussion we would be having, not C versus P or anything of that sort.

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