PepsiCo’s India-born former CEO Indra Nooyi said that her entry into politics would cause World War III as she is “too outspoken”.
Asia Society, a non-profit organisation that focuses on educating the world about Asia, honoured 62-year-old Nooyi Tuesday with the ‘Game Changer of the Year Award’ here in recognition of her business achievements, humanitarian record and advocacy for women and girls around the world.
Asked if she would like to join US President Donald Trump’s Cabinet now that she has stepped down as Pepsi CEO, Nooyi said, “Me and politics don’t mix at all. I am too outspoken, I am not diplomatic. I don’t even know what diplomacy is. I would cause a third World War. Don’t do it”.
Nooyi will remain chairman until early 2019 to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.
After having worked 18 to 20 hours a day for the last 40 years, Nooyi said it was “liberating” to have a bit of free time.
“When I stepped down, I thought that it was going to be tough. For 40 years, I have done nothing but wake up at 4 am and figured out how to rush to work and work 18-20 hours a day,” she said during the interaction.
Nooyi said a day after she stepped down, she realised that there was life beyond working.
“I am still a PepsiCo at heart but I am learning to step aside and realise that there is life beyond PepsiCo,” she said.
“I am told I need to go to sleep school to learn how to sleep...Learning how to sleep 6, 8 or 10 hours, play Tennis, I don’t know how it’s going to be but I know it is going to be fun,” she said.
“I imported a quintessential Asian model to my life,” she said.
“We need to import that Asian model here. We need to have more multi-generational families living together. We need to have the older generation helping the young people supervise day-care facilities,” she said.
Nooyi said there was a need to build communities where the older people and younger people can live together, enabling kids to learn the value of respect and wisdom.
“We need solutions to address the issue of work-life balance and co-opting the entire family is part of this solution,” she said.
“If we don’t provide support system for families, I don’t know how we are going to do it. Traditional Asian values need to be revived - the joint family, coming together of communities has to happen,” she said.
The 2018 Asia Game Changer Awards were given to individuals and institutions who have broken barriers, defined courage, worked miracles, and in turn inspired their fellow citizens of the world.
Sharing lessons learnt through her experiences, Nooyi said that her mother’s advice to “leave the crown in the garage” holds true.
“Do not bring it in. If your husband wants to bring his crown in, that’s just fine. That’s crown. But don’t take your crown in,” she said, adding that some people may “hate” her for making such a remark.
“If you want to stay married, if you want to be a daughter, wife, mother, unfortunately, the crown stays in the car. That is the unfortunate rule number one. Somebody has got to play the role of getting everybody together,” she said.