Blog: James WilmoreIndra Nooyi - a bare-footed hippie maybe, but don't call her company Pepsi

James Wilmore | 10 July 2014

I'd imagine the term "hippie" is rarely used in a positive way in business circles. 

The image of a bearded, long-haired counter-culture figure is anathema to the staid, straight-laced nature of much of the corporate world. 

But it seems these days, a surprising number of business leaders began life embracing what might be seen as the "hippie" culture. 

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple who experimented with LSD in his younger days, is the obvious example. Richard Branson, who still sports long hair and a beard, is another. 

One other addition to the list could well be PepsiCo's CEO Indra Nooyi. The soft drinks and snacks guru was described as a "hippie" last week, during an introduction for a Q&A for the Aspen Institiute in the US

Nooyi appeared to accept this description, based on the fact she used to play guitar in a band and, according to host David Bradley, "has been spotted walking bare feet in the Pepsi(Co) offices". 

However, despite her previous tendencies, Nooyi was quick to correct Bradley when he referred to the company she leads as just "Pepsi", instead of PepsiCo. No doubt, Nooyi is particularly sensitive on the issue, bearing in mind the on-going efforts of investor Nelson Peltz to split the group in two. 

Whether her peace-loving attitude extends to Mr Peltz may be a matter of some debate. 

 

Sectors: Soft drinks

Companies: PepsiCo

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