Calling her one of the "pioneering CEOs," Donald Trump today appointed PepsiCo Chairman Indra Nooyi to his Strategic and Policy Forum that aims to assist the president-elect in implementing his economic agenda, the presidential transition team said today.
Chennai-born Nooyi, 61, is the only Indian-origin executive in the 19-member President's Strategic and Policy Forum, which was first announced early this week.
Three new members were also announced in addition to the current 16.
The forum, composed of some of America's most highly respected and successful business leaders, will meet with the president frequently to share their specific experience and knowledge as the president implements his economic agenda, a media release said adding the forum will be chaired by Stephen A Schwarzman, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Blackstone.
The other corporate bigwigs to join the forum are Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and SpaceX and Tesla chairman Elon Musk, Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, Jamie Dimon of Chase and Mary Barra of General Motors.
"America has the most innovative and vibrant companies in the world, and the pioneering CEOs joining this forum today are at the top of their fields," Trump said.
"My administration is going to work together with the private sector to improve the business climate and make it attractive for firms to create new jobs across the United States from Silicon Valley to the heartland," he said.
According to the presidential transition team, members of the forum will be charged with providing their individual views to the president — informed by their unique vantage points in the private sector — on how government policy impacts economic growth, job creation and productivity.
“The forum is designed to provide direct input to the president from many of the best and brightest in the business world in a frank, non-bureaucratic and non-partisan manner,” the media release said.
As chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, Nooyi heads a company that has more than USD 63 billion in annual net revenue, and more than USD 35 billion in the US alone. PepsiCo is the largest US food and beverage company with about 110,000 employees and 100 plants across the country.
A graduate of Madras Christian College in Chennai, she has management degrees from the Indian Institute of Management in Kolkata and Yale University.
During the general election, Nooyi was a known supporter of Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. After Trump’s victory she said that Clinton’s defeat in the election has left her daughters, gay workers, employees and non-whites devastated as there was “serious concern” among them about their safety in the US with Trump as president.
“I had to answer a lot of questions from my daughters, from our employees. They were all in mourning. Our employees were all crying.
"The question that they are asking, especially those who are not white – ‘Are we safe’, women are asking ‘Are we safe’, LGBT people are asking ‘Are we safe’,” she said at a New York conference on November 10.
At the same time she congratulated Trump on his victory. “The process of democracy happened, we just have to let life go on. We have to come together and life has to go on,” she said.
Earlier Trump had appointed another American-Indian Shalabh Kumar, the chair of the Republican Hindu Coalition, to the transition finance and the inauguration teams.
The finance team members review prospects for administration positions and makes recommendations to Trump.
The inauguration team organises the festivities for Trump's swearing in as president on January 20.