PepsiCo Chairperson and CEO Indra K. Nooyi this week became the most generous lifetime benefactor in the history of her alma mater, the Yale School of Management (SOM), endowing the deanship of the school and kicking off the Fifth Decade Innovation Fund, the school announced yesterday.
“My experience at the Yale School of Management forever altered the course of my life,” the 1980 Yale SOM graduate said in a statement. “My gift to this wonderful institution pales in comparison with the gift that Yale gave me—the fundamental understanding that leadership requires an expansive worldview and a deep appreciation of the many points of intersection between business and society,” she continued.
CEO of PepsiCo since 2006 and chairman since 2007, Nooyi has spearheaded “Performance with Purpose,” the company’s promise to integrate sustainability and social impact into its pursuit of exceptional financial performance. As part of this initiative, PepsiCo has diversified its product portfolio to meet changing consumer needs so that just 25 percent of its global revenue comes from carbonated soft drinks and 20 percent comes from the company’s nutrition businesses. Nooyi has also helped PepsiCo become a leader in sustainability, including reducing operational water use by 23 percent and improving operational energy efficiency by 16 percent since 2006.
Edward Snyder, who has led Yale SOM since 2011 and was reappointed to a second term as dean earlier this month, is the inaugural Indra K. Nooyi Dean. “Having the deanship named in her honor communicates to the world the school’s model of purposeful and broadminded leadership,” he said in a statement.
Yale SOM did not disclose the amount of Nooyi’s gift but shared that it will not only endow the deanship but also inaugurate the Fifth Decade Innovation Fund commemorating the school’s entry into its fifth decade. The fund is designed “to advance the school’s aim of developing leaders with the broad global mindset and multi-disciplinary approach to business that is needed to succeed in 21st-century capitalism,” according to the Yale SOM website.
It will fund the development of technology and other infrastructure to support innovative initiatives such as the school’s focus on the connections between the private and public sectors, its integrated curriculum and its participation in the Global Network for Advanced Management. The fund will also help support the school’s recently launched one-year post-MBA degree, the Master of Advanced Management, and increased emphasis on entrepreneurship through the Program on Entrepreneurship.
“Business issues are never just business issues, and my most ardent hope is that this endowment will teach future generations of leaders that the most successful companies of tomorrow will do more than make money,” Nooyi stated. “They will make a difference and create shareholder value by improving the quality of life in every market in which they operate.”
Nooyi’s most recent gift is the first by a woman to endow deanship at a top business school, Yale SOM notes, though far from her first gift to the school. Her prior contributions help fund construction of Edward P. Evans Hall, which opened one year ago, and included gifts to name the Nooyi Classroom and the Isaacson Classroom in memory of Professor Larry Isaacson.