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PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Envisions the CEO of Tomorrow

May 13, 2013

Global leader shares five imperatives for CEOs at sold-out 1st Tuesday Speaker Series.

PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi shared her expertise in managing a worldwide brand portfolio and envisioned the CEO of tomorrow at the sold-out Carlson School of Management's "1st Tuesday Speaker Series" on May 7.

While companies have long been measured by their ability to return shareholder value in the short term, Nooyi positions PepsiCo to thrive long into the future, guided by a commitment to "performance with purpose."

"I believe that we need to think about the legacy we leave," she says. "The CEO we have tended to admire has been the one who could take the cost out; the one who could get the biggest return in the shortest possible time. But that kind of hard-edged leader, delivering return on capital for the short term, no matter what the social or environmental cost, is yesterday's leader."

Nooyi posits there are five imperatives of the CEO of tomorrow:

Balance short-term and long-term thinking and management: Manage not just for the level of returns, but also for duration. Earn the trust of constituents who may lose sight of the long term.

Understand the way the public and private sectors are coming together: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) contribute to important public policy. Companies and NGOs must view the world from one another's perspective and find ways to work together if they're to thrive.

Make the phrase "think global and act local" more than a cliché: With more than 40 percent of the world's population concentrated in six countries in Asia, global companies must hone intimate knowledge of new cultures. Tomorrow's CEO should spend substantial time in Asia, getting to know the region's unique challenges.

Keep an open mind to adapt to a rapidly changing world: Ask probing questions, and listen to the answers. Encourage debate, foster a culture of dissent, and welcome uncomfortable input. Sensitivity to diversity is more important than ever, both for employees and customers.

Bring a large dose of emotional intelligence to the job: Think with the heart, as well as the head. A difficult skill to teach, empathy manifests as motivating, inspiring and retaining talent.

"The world of business is changing so fast; we need to act as if we are constantly pursuing an education, just to keep up," she says.

The Carlson School of Management's "1st Tuesday Speaker Series," a tradition since 1992, is one of the largest regularly-scheduled gatherings of corporate and community leaders in the area. The series brings together leaders from throughout the region to discuss the most important business, management, and leadership topics of the day. Past speakers have included John Stumpf, president and CEO of Wells Fargo; Bill George, former president of Medtronic; and Stephen J. Hemsley, president of UnitedHealth Group. The school will host Jennifer Ford Reedy, president of the Bush Foundation, this June. Register now

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