Friday, May 20, 2005

The Indra Nooyi controversy

Indra Nooyi is one of IIMC's celebrated alumni and is President/CFO of PepsiCo Inc., People have wrought up a stupid controversy alleging she showed the 'middle finger' to America.

The Economic Times Article : Nooyi's mid-finger makes US see red

The index finger is Europe, pointing the way up; the ring finger is Latin America, sensual and romantic (think Salma Hayek or J-Lo); the thumb is Asia, proud and aspiring; the little finger is the Dark Continent, while the middle finger - yes, you guessed it - is the United States of America.

Soon, the incident had blogworld all aflutter. “It would certainly be a shame if the president of PepsiCo had gotten rich on America, while she was gallivanting around college campuses claiming that the US was giving the middle finger to the rest of the world. That would not be cricket, would it?” asked one of the blogs.

“Remember that the middle finger - the US - always stands out. If you are smart, if you exhibit emotional intelligence as well as academic intelligence, if you ascribe positive intent to all your actions on the international business stage, this can be a great advantage,” she concludes.


Apparently, ET claims this issue has caused a blog-storm. A quick Technorati search threw up 64 posts. Im not sure if this is a blog-storm.

Pepsico was quick to react. This is Indra Nooyi's clarification (Full Text of the speech):

As part of this illustration, I assigned five of the world’s continents to the different fingers and thumb. I refer to North America and particularly the U.S. as the middle finger because it is the longest and anchors every function the hand performs. The middle finger also is key to all the fingers working together effectively. That is how I view America’s place of importance in the world.

The point of my analogy was to emphasize America’s leadership position. Equally critical is the need for each of us as citizens to take a constructive role in whatever we choose to do in life to ensure the U.S. continues as the world’s “helping hand.”


Does not make sense from the angle of both parties. Either the bloggers/newspapers should have sense enough to understand Ms.Nooyi , President of PepsiCo, would not choose a graduation ceremony to show her country the middle-finger. Atleast, Ms.Nooyi or her speech-writer should have sense enough to know what the middle-finger signifies.

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