The ex-CEO of Pepsi said asking for a raise is ‘cringeworthy’

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi
Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi Donald Heupel/Reuters
  • Indra Nooyi, Pepsi’s CEO from 2006 to 2018, told NYT she finds asking for a raise “cringeworthy.”
  • “I cannot imagine working for somebody and saying my pay is not enough,” Nooyi said.
  • Research has found women ask for raises as much as men, but men are more “successful” with their requests.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The former CEO of PepsiCo never asked for a raise while at the company’s helm.

Indra Nooyi, Pepsi’s chief executive between 2006 and 2018, said in a recent interview she did not ask the company’s board of directors for a raise while CEO.

Nooyi said she even refused a raise the board offered her because she felt uncomfortable taking one during the financial crisis.

“I’ve never, ever, ever asked for a raise,” Nooyi told The New York Times. “I find it cringeworthy. I cannot imagine working for somebody and saying my pay is not enough.”

When asked whether Nooyi’s refusal to ask for a raise was gendered, Nooyi said “it’s just me.” The executive explained that because she did not grow up with much money, she and her husband did not upgrade their house while she served as CEO.

The Times noted that Nooyi received more than $US31 ($AU43) million in compensation during her last full year at Pepsi.

Nooyi said she bought the land and properties near her house so no one would build a “gigantic mansion,” and allowed neighbors to walk around the empty space.

Nooyi grew up in Chennai, India, and attended two of the country’s most prestigious universities. She consistently ranked as one of Fortune’s most influential women in business during her time at PepsiCo.

On average, women in business ask for raises and promotions more than men, according to research from McKinsey and Lean In. But when women negotiate, their bosses view them as “intimidating,” “too aggressive,” or “bossy.”

In 2018, Harvard Business Review published a report that found women ask for raises as much as men, but men are more “successful” with their requests, with a success rate of 15% for women and 20% for men.

PepsiCo was not immediately available for comment.