Enjoy our faster App experience

Dubai’s growth amazes ex-PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi

The business leader takes part at the Emirates Litfest that showcased her memoir My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future

Indra Nooyi. — Photo by Shihab
Indra Nooyi. — Photo by Shihab

Joydeep Sengupta

Published: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 9:35 PM

Last updated: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 10:26 PM

Dubai, an Arabian dream that has been powered by the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, came for high praise on Saturday.

Indra Nooyi, the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PepsiCo, who traced her path from Chennai in southern India to leading the soda giant, thanks to a scholarship at Ivy League Yale University, told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview that “every time I come to Dubai, I’m amazed how much it’s growing”. She recalled her first visit to the emirate was over 35 years ago.

Dubai’s ease of doing business has struck a big chord with Nooyi, 66, who was in Dubai to attend the 14th Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature to talk about her memoir, My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future.


Nooyi’s is an extraordinary story of an exceptional leader, who headed the American multinational company for 12 years, including weathering the 2007-08 global financial crisis.

She is the first woman of colour and an immigrant to the US to run a Fortune 50 company.

The memoir is a saga of a middle-class Indian girl — steeped in family values and an avowed Beatles fan and a keen cricketer — who ended up leading PepsiCo, one of the world’s biggest consumer companies.

It’s an honest portrayal of her legendary career and the sacrifices it so often demanded.

It encapsulates her unique business model — “performance with purpose”. Her initiative led to connecting the dots between what’s good for business is also good for the world such as healthier consumer products and pragmatic policies to conserve the world’s limited and precious natural resources.

Now, her successor Ramon Laguarta clearly has his work cut out after she stepped down as the chairperson in early 2019.

Earlier in the day, Nooyi, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, (IIM) Calcutta, took part in a fireside chat in Dubai for a programme called Leadership for the Future, which was organised by PAN IIM, an alumni network.

On Sunday, Nooyi will be in conversation with Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, at the expo site as they talk about what role women can play in global leadership.


More news from UAE