PepsiCo Chairman and Chief Executive Indra Nooyi of India has topped the inaugural Financial Times (FT) list of top 50 women in world business.Nooyi, 53, is among four Indians making it to a list that FT said prompts the question whether the struggling male-dominated world of business would have been better off with more women in charge.
“The collapse of some of the world's biggest banks has been blamed partly on directors' failure to ask tough questions. A study by The Conference Board of Canada found that boards with women directors paid greater attention than all-male boards to audit and risk controls,” the FT said.
The other three Indians on the list published on Friday are: Britannia Industries head Vinita Bali, Biocon Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and HT Media Chairperson Shobhana Bhartia.
Nooyi attributed much of her success to the US, saying: “I think the United States represents the greatest meritocracy in the world... the US is a country that likes to see others succeed.”
The list commended Bali, ranked 22, for her experience in the food production business.
“In the 1980s and 1990s, she shuttled between Cadbury and Coca-Cola, occupying key marketing roles in India, the UK, South Africa and across South America. Her opportunity to take the leadership role at Britannia came after the controversial resignation of Sunil Alagh in 2003,” it said.
The FT said the entrepreneurial skills of Mazumdar-Shaw, placed 47, “have taken Biocon from being a start-up in Bangalore to a successful listed company”.
Bhartia, at number 48, was praised for helping shape HT Media into one of India's largest media companies.
“HT Media's editorial portfolio includes Hindustan, Hindustan Times and Mint, India's second largest business newspaper. Under the guidance of Bhartia, this group has expanded online and recently launched desimartini.com, a social networking site. HT Media launched Fever 104fm, the product of partnering with Virgin Media,” the paper said.
Another four Indians figure in a 'women to watch' section: Cisco Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior, and Hewlett-Packard India Managing Director Neelam Dhawan in the technology and media sector; and UBS India Chief Executive Manisha Girotra and HSBC India CEO Naina Lal Kidwai in finance.
The paper said it could not include ICICI Bank CEO Chandra Kochhar despite her being in a powerful position because she had not served at least 12 months in the role.