|By JOANN S. LUBLIN
The Wall Street Journal
Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive of PepsiCo Inc., criticized fellow corporate leaders for failing to try hard enough to increase the ranks of women in upper management.
“We have to insist that CEOs get a pipeline and a development plan in place,” Ms. Nooyi told a Wall Street Journal conference on women in the economy. Participants embraced several corrective steps at the two-day session, held this week in Palm Beach, Fla.
Among the proposals backed by Ms. Nooyi: the creation of a private panel of big-business chiefs. This CEO commission would publish results of corporate efforts to expand the number of senior executive women – including “company scorecards and metrics” – and consider setting public targets for women’s advancement.
“I’d be happy to do my part to move this forward,” Ms. Nooyi said of the idea. “There aren’t enough women in the pipeline,” she said.
Ms. Nooyi also urged conference attendees to keep reinforcing the notion in their workplaces that “having women in the organization enhances your ability to make the numbers.” She said that’s especially true at Pepsi, where 30% of executives are female, and she’s committed to making sure “our employee base reflects our consumer base.”
Rather than setting strict quotas, Ms. Nooyi said, Pepsi tries to promote promising women partly by making sure they represent a significant proportion of succession candidates for the 300 jobs the company recently identified as key for the future.
And until Pepsi introduced extensive “inclusion” training for management, the company had trouble retaining minority and female employees, Ms. Nooyi recalled. “We [were] not tapping the full potential of women and minorities,” she explained.
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