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A hefty stock price climb and revenue upturn later, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has been handed a massive pay hike. In her first full year in charge, the Chennai-born Nooyi, 53, got paid $14.74 million, more than double the $6.3 million she earned in 2006 as PepsiCo’s CFO.

     Print Edition: April 20, 2008

Money matters

Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi
A hefty stock price climb and revenue upturn later, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has been handed a massive pay hike. In her first full year in charge, the Chennai-born Nooyi, 53, got paid $14.74 million, more than double the $6.3 million she earned in 2006 as PepsiCo’s CFO. The talented lady led the global expansion of PepsiCo into growth economies such as India and China and restructured the company into three business units—Food, Beverages and International. She will now be keen to bridge the gap on arch-rival Coca-Cola globally and probably would also like to surpass Coca-Cola CEO Neville Isdell’s $21.65-million pay cheque. Before that, Nooyi will need to negotiate a recessionary US market and slower consumer spending, and prove that she can sustain PepsiCo’s growth even as global economic growth falters.

On his terms

Prem Mehta
Prem Mehta
The drama has ended and he has stated his part. And now there’s a little stir about 63-year-old Prem Mehta, Chairman, Lintas Group, calling it quits—earlier than his 2009-end retirement. But Mehta is not the one who can be rushed into doing things before he so chooses himself: “All professionals ultimately retire. So will I. I have yet to decide the date,” he says. Recent memory is coloured by the public fracas over the way proceeds— of the 51 per cent stake sale by Lintas Welfare Employee Trust to Lowe Worldwide—were disbursed. But Mehta’s career trajectory of nearly four decades is nothing to sneeze at: He’s grown a single-brand advertising agency Lintas to a group of 16 businesses. And having set up Northpoint Centre of Learning, which is outside of IPG’s ad/media business control, he has much to look forward to.

French connection

Arun Nanda
Arun Nanda
Arun Nanda, 59, Mahindra & Mahindra Executive Director, makes no bones about his fondness for France. Apart from visiting the country twice a year as President, Indo-French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nanda candidly admits a weakness for Thalossotherapy at Quiberon and gastronomical fare at Lyon (both famous French towns). Now, it’s the turn of the French to reciprocate. French President Nicholas Sarkozy has conferred his country’s highest civilian award ‘Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur’ on Nanda for his contribution towards the Indo-French trade ties and the Mahindra-Renault JV. In a letter to Nanda informing him of the award, French Ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont said: “...the French President wishes to pay tribute by conferring this distinction on you.” Time for Nanda to take a bow.

Top flight

Raghu Menon
Raghu Menon
His is a slightly unexpected selection but Raghu Menon, 56, pipped more than 50 others to the top job at the merged Air India-Indian, now known as the National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL). Menon, Special Secretary and Financial Advisor in the Civil Aviation Ministry, was reported to have pulled out of the race voluntarily. Apparently, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel personally intervened to ensure Menon’s selection for the coveted job. An IAS officer of the 1974 batch (Nagaland cadre), Menon has set an ambitious target for himself. Says Menon: “I would like to build a customer-centric organisation that can offer a great travel experience and can retain the loyalty of its customers.” Much of Menon’s time over the next year, though, will be spent in ensuring a smooth and seamless merger of Air India and Indian. For now, he is hoping for a smooth take-off.

The Philanthropic VC

Srini Raju
Srini Raju
This would surely count as one big-hearted gesture. The Centre for IT and the Networked Economy (CITNE), a centre of excellence at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, is set to get its biggest endowment so far (Rs 35 crore), courtesy venture capitalist Srini Raju, 46. The former executive director of Satyam Computer is the founder-Chairman of iLabs, which has funded about 20 companies. Says Professor Ravi Bapna, Executive Director of the centre: “The contribution in the form of an endowment will greatly help in attracting global faculty and highly skilled students from partner schools.” The agreement was yet to be signed when BT went to press. The good deed is a smart one too as Bapna says: “In a downturn, it is the smarter economies that invest in knowledge creation.”

Deft mover

Rana Kapoor
Rana Kapoor
After Sabre Capital’s Rana Talwar cashed out of Centurion Bank of Punjab recently, the moves of the other ‘Rana’ in banking—Rana Kapoor, founder, MD and CEO of YES Bank—are watched still more keenly. Last fortnight, HSBC’s investment arm upped its stake in what is perhaps the only greenfield bank in recent times in India. Kapoor, 50, merely puts it down as “a financial investment” and a validation of YES Bank’s strategy. On future course of action, he believes that “there is an unprecedented opportunity for specialist play in India”. Unencumbered by legacy, aided by technology, with a sharp workforce, YES Bank has a unique chance, he thinks. That the bank is on the radar screen of a few, he concedes easily. A few more years should not harm its case, however, given the recent talent scarcity and derivatives scare.

Contributed by Shalini S. Dagar, Rishi Joshi, Shamni Pande, Rahul Sachitanand, E. Kumar Sharma and Pallavi Srivastava 

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