Nooyi, Warrior, Mukerjea in WSJ’s 50 women to watch list

November 10th, 2008 - 7:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Nov 10 (IANS) Three top executives of Indian origin - PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi, Cisco’s Padmasree Warrior and INX Media’s Indrani Mukerjea - are in the list of “50 Women to Watch - 2008” compiled by the Wall Street Journal.“Confronted this year by high commodity prices, a downturn in US beverage sales, and other consequences of the souring economy, Indra Nooyi didn’t shy from some bold steps,” said the daily on the chairman and chief executive of PepsiCo.

Ranking her second, the newspaper said Nooyi also launched an aggressive belt-tightening programme this fall to generate more than $1.2 billion in savings over the next three years.

“Visiting her native India in September, Nooyi announced a three-year, $500 million investment to expand manufacturing, improve research and development and introduce new products,” the journal said about the Chennai-born executive.

Top on the list is Sheila Bair, chairman of Federal Deposit Insurance. Barbara Desoer of Bank of America ranks third, Hu Xiaolian of the People’s Bank of China is next, while French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde ranks fifth.

Commenting on Warrior, chief technology officer of Cisco who is ranked 31st, the newspaper said she has been chief executive John Chambers’s champion to execute the laid-out path for new markets and products and fuel growth.

“Now she must help identify acquisition targets for Cisco, as well as emerging technology trends to exploit. She must also communicate Cisco’s technology strategy to corporate customers and industry partners,” the newspaper said.

“It isn’t an easy task.”

Mukerjea, ranked 41st, has been described as India’s first female media mogul, whose INX Media runs three channels in India, including a news and a general entertainment channel and the popular 9XM video music channel.

The newspaper said her company plans to launch nine more channels by the end of 2009, and quoting her, it says, working in the male-dominated Bollywood has been a challenge.

“But you fight on regardless,” the magazine quoted the 36-year-old as saying.

“Her biggest media venture, a Hindi-language general entertainment channel called 9X, drew strong ratings initially but has lately fallen out of the top five amid a flurry of new competition and skyrocketing production costs.”

But Mukerjea has a game plan. “While everyone else is talking about outspending each other, I think the way to survive in this business is to tighten your belt. In the middle of the global economic meltdown, that helps you to be looked upon as a prudent leader.”

Quoting a survey by Catalyst, a New York research group, the journal said women now hold 15.4 percent of Fortune 500 corporate-officer jobs — positions of vice president or higher that require board approval.

“That number has inched down from 16.4 percent in 2005,” it said.

“One bright spot: More women are in charge of powerful board committees, such as nominating and governance committee chairs. That in turn could mean more women being appointed to key positions down the road.”

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