Leadership

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi on why Steve Jobs advised her to throw tantrums

When Indra Nooyi took over as CEO of PepsiCo in 2006, she met with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

"He was very very gracious to agree to see me when I first became CEO," she said Thursday at the DealBook Conference in New York City, hosted by CNBC anchor and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.

"I didn't know him, but I knew somebody who knew him and he said come on down to the Apple office. … He taught me a lot in those two hours."

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, at the Dealbook conference in New York, November 10, 2016.
Mike Cohen | The New York Times
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, at the Dealbook conference in New York, November 10, 2016.

Jobs, who was a driven and sometimes ruthless manager, told Nooyi that there is a time and a place to throw temper tantrums.

Nooyi recalled: "He said, if you really feel strongly about something if you don't like something people are doing throw a temper tantrum. Throw things around, because people have got to know that you feel strongly about it."

She later talked to Jobs' agency partners who confirmed that if someone showed him a campaign or design for a product he didn't like, "he would throw the papers across the room and make them work all night."

While she hasn't gone that far, she told Sorkin, "I'm beginning to use certain words a little bit more freely and I am screaming a bit more, pounding the table … which is really not the way I was.

"But it is effective. It shows the passion that I have for what I'm doing."