Executive Summary

The paper is an attempt to analyse leadership models of two prominent leaders, Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, and Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple.  Nooyi’s leadership model is featured with sustained growth, empowered people, as well as responsibility and trust.  Jobs, on the other hand, is extremely enthusiastic, self-confident, and visionary.  The key issues analysed in the paper are what personal and business characteristics the two leaders possesses and how they differ.  The paper concludes that different leaderships foster different business culture, and thus, different companies.  Both leaders have strong and weak spots among the practices which should be addressed to ensure continued success.


Leadership is “a management process of influence that inspires, motivates and directs activities to achieve goals.”(Course PPT)  Factors that influence successful leadership may include personality traits, leader behaviours, and contingency variables, etc.  Two of the most notable leaders chosen for analyses this paper are Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, and Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple.  Both leaders have attained incredible levels of success.  However, both leaders also have weak spots among the practices which should be addressed to ensure continued success.  The paper tends to examine the different leadership models of two leaders.  The paper will start with the brief introduction of the two leaders and respective companies they represent.  Their leadership models in relevance to modern leadership theories will be analysed.  Advantages and disadvantaged of these leadership models in relation to the modern business environment will be carefully reviewed and argued.  Finally, differences of these leadership models and their relative advantages and disadvantages will be analysed.  

Indra Nooyi: Queen of the PepsiCo Kingdom


Ranked consecutively as one of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes Magazine, Indra Nooyi is the recognized business leader currently serving as the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.  PepsiCo has the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that each generates more than $1 billion in annual retail sales.  With nearly $60 billion in revenue, PepsiCo employs 285,000 people worldwide.  Nooyi started her business career with PepsiCo in 1994.  She was named President and CEO on October 1, 2006 and assumed the role of Chairman on May 2, 2007.  While at PepsiCo, Nooyi has played a vital role in starting Tricon, which is currently known as Yum! Brands Inc.  She recommended spinning off Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.  She also took the lead in the acquisition of Tropicana in 1998, and merger with Quaker Oats Co.  

As a widely-respected business leader, Nooyi has gained admiral from her colleagues and business associates.  As PepsiCo states on its corporate website, the company, under Nooyi’s leadership, is “committed to delivering sustained growth through empowered people acting responsibly and building trust.” (Schultz, 2008, p116)  Sustained growth, empowered people, responsibility and trust are key words which portray Nooyi’s exemplary leadership at PepsiCo.   First of all, Nooyi is the chief architect of PepsiCo's sustained growth strategy.  Performance with Purpose, the core of the sustained growth, shows PepsiCo's commitment to “continue to build a portfolio of enjoyable and wholesome foods and beverages, find innovative ways to reduce the use of energy, water and packaging and provide a great workplace for the employees.” (Schultz, 2008, p117) In keeping with this growth strategy, PepsiCo is listed on the Dow Jones North America Sustainability Index and Dow Jones World Sustainability Index.  Through implementation of this strategy, PepsiCo under Nooyi’s leadership reveals its long-term commitment to its employees and clients, which successfully helps establish positive a corporate brand.  Second, Nooyi’s effective leadership also builds on the sense of responsibility and trust installed in PepsiCo through her relationship-oriented approach with employees.  She has established her effective leadership through a personal and intimate approach towards employees.  As Nooyi points out in her speech, she believes that “family, friends, and faith” are the three crucial factors contributing her success. (Nooyi 2006)  Nooyi said: ”When things look bleak and uncertain, it’s your family, friends, and faith that pull you through…And when I’m wrestling with change in my life, good or bad, the first place I turn to, is my religion, I tell you it really helps.”  (Nooyi 2006)  Nooyi has been able incorporate an appropriate amount of personal life within the position of PepsiCo.  She has established a close relationship with her employees that goes beyond the PepsiCo organization.  Last but not the least, her leadership influence also comes from her application of empowerment at PepsiCo.  She believes that empowered employees who “have the freedom to act and think in ways that [they] feel will get the job done” will “ensure proper governance and being mindful of company needs beyond [their] own.” (Nooyi 2006)

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At the core of Nooyi’s leadership is the long-term commitment towards employees and clients.  However, this leadership which builds on trust and responsibility might be challenged by the volatile business environment in the new economy.  Today, the business environment has changed tremendously and employment is featured with constant change and uncertainty.  Company reconstructing and reengineering, mergers and acquisitions, as well as downsizing and layoffs are more frequent than ever before.  Flexibility and agility are valued in this volatile business environment.  More employees are now responsible for their own skill and career development.  They need to constantly update their professional ...

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