Indra Nooyi, Shantanu Narayen named Top Gun CEOs

June 23rd, 2009 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 23 (IANS) Two Indian-Americans, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo and Shantanu Narayen of Adobe Systems, have been named among America’s “25 Top Gun CEOs” who put their companies on the path to success in the midst of a recession.

Nooyi, the only female listed this year, was ranked No. 17 among the top 25 chief executive officers for 2009 picked up by advisory agency Brendan Wood International, “based on their ability to make smart acquisitions, make themselves visible and expand the company’s value propositions, among other things.”

Nooyi, who has been president and chief executive officer of PepsiCo since October 2006, was named a Top Gun in part for her long-term strategic vision for PepsiCo and the acquisitions she has helped, US business magazine Forbes said.

She has led PepsiCo’s restructuring, including the divestiture of its restaurants into YUM! Brands, the acquisition of Tropicana and the merger with Quaker Oats. PepsiCo had annual sales of $43.25 billion in 2008, up from $39.47 billion the previous year.

“Indra K. Nooyi has had the right long-term strategic vision. She has executed very well. PepsiCo dominates the markets it operates in. She runs the business carefully, in good times and bad. I like how she thinks about managing the business,” the ranking agency’s CEO Brendan Wood was cited as saying by Forbes.

A notch above Nooyi at No. 16 was Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe Systems. “Shantanu Narayen has been in the industry for a very long time and always has a strong sense of what the next key steps are in terms of positioning the company in the industry,” Wood said.

A total of 317 US companies were reviewed by 2,500 asset managers to determine the “Top Guns”. Chief executive officers were ranked quantitatively and qualitatively with data from past year.

Only three of this year’s top executives have made the list previously:

Andrew Gould of Schlumberger, Nicholas Chabraja of General Dynamics, and Mark Hurd of Hewlett-Packard.

Another chief executive honoured was John Stumpf of Wells Fargo & Co.. Wells Fargo made the news last year when the firm offered to acquire Wachovia.

Despite illness, Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive officer, became a Top Gun for the innovative products the company created under his guidance.

Robert Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co., became a Top Gun for helping turn around ABC, a Disney acquisition, and he is capitalizing on ESPN’s strength.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

Edit: A comment below was removed at the request of Michael McGuire, Esq. (Hollyer Brady LLP)

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