Jan 18, 2019
Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is reportedly on a list of candidates to replace current World Bank President Jim Yong Kim when he steps down next month. Nooyi has a fan in the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who is on the hiring committee that was expected to begin interviews soon. Other committee members are Treasury Secretary Steven Munchin and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
At first glance, Nooyi’s background and business experience would seem like a good fit for the World Bank presidency. After assuming the CEO position in 2006, PepsiCo’s net revenue grew from $35 billion to $63.5 billion in 2017, while generating a shareholder return of 162%.
Nooyi aggressively positioned the company through a number of high-profile acquisitions to expand its portfolio into trendy areas to help harness this growth. Under her leadership, Pepsi purchased Bare Foods, which makes baked fruit and vegetable snacks, took a stake in hummus maker Sabra and acquired probiotics beverage manufacturer KeVita, a maker of kombucha and vinegar tonics.
This astute deal making could resonate with Trump. But that scenario assumes Nooyi actually wants the job, which is not at all certain. If she were to be named, Nooyi would be the first female World Bank president in its 75-year history. And while most of its leaders have had banking experience, three of them have not, including the current one.
Nooyi, 63, probably doesn’t really need a job at this point in her life. Her salary was more than $31 million last year. Should she not be tapped for the World Bank presidency, it’s likely she could find a position to work toward one of her personal goals: helping develop more women to achieve top leadership roles in business.