Connecticut’s Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont recently named Indra Nooyi, the former Pepsi CEO, to his team of economic advisors to bring jobs to Connecticut, but is she the right one to trust with that task? Is the opulent outsourcer, pocketing $31.1 million in total compensation during her last year at Pepsi, really one to commiserate with Connecticut’s tech workers in the trenches?

Nooyi’s India-based connections are already evident. Having gone to Yale with Lamont, she introduced him to Infosys president and COO, Ravi Kumar. That link sparked Connecticut’s $14-million deal with the India-based IT company for a promised 1,000 jobs to the capital city. Nooyi joined Pepsi in 1994, becoming president and CFO seven years later. She became CEO in 2007, and directed the company’s global strategy and restructuring. In 2008, Nooyi earned about $15 million.

Wolf inSheep’s Clothing

When Lamont named Nooyi to his team, she stated: “I’m sort of a missionary for Connecticut. Nobody in the Connecticut political system has reached out to us until Ned became governor. Nobody has ever said, ‘Come and help Connecticut.’ I want to do my part. It’s time for me to give back.”

But Mother Teresa she is not. If Nooyi intends to shepherd Connecticut the way she did Pepsi, then folks in the Nutmeg State need to hold on to their hats and their jobs. While at Pepsi, Nooyi was instrumental in bringing in 2,000 foreign workers on H-1B visas that took American jobs.

Pepsi also entered into a slew of outsourcing contracts, sending jobs off shore.

  • 2005 Pepsi contracts with Hewitt Associates for outsourcing services.
  • 2012 Pepsi eyes 4,000 potential layoffs
  • In 2012, PepsiCo announced plans to cut up to 8,700 jobs, or 3 percent of its global workforce, over three years. That included plans to cut about 150 Chicago-based employees. It is unclear how many jobs were cut as part of that plan.

It may appear the 8,700 jobs were redundant positions trimmed from the hierarchy. But while jobs were being slashed stateside, Nooyi gave the nod for even more outsourcing contracts, as in 2006, when Pepsi made a $100 million deal with HP for managing its information technology (IT) and data center operations, according to outsourcing advisory firm Everest Group. Pepsi also has outsourcing agreements with IBM, which ran “finance and administration processes” for Pepsi’s Indian arm. Both HP and IBM employ a majority of their workers in India. The Pepsi deals to outsource the work to HP and IBM led to the employment of tech workers in India, as is the case with virtually every tech outsourcing arrangement.

Pepsi outsourcing contracts during this time totaled nearly $1 Billion:

Below are some of the job displacements that occurred during Nooyi’s time as Pepsi CEO:

In addition to the many layoffs and outsourcing deals while Nooyi was at Pepsi’s helm, she also directed and oversaw the use of thousands of foreign workers to cut costs at Pepsi by replacing American tech workers with H-1B visa holders. In 2001, Pepsi received more than 1,000 certified H-1Bs. And every year since, Pepsi has brought in an additional 50 H-1Bs annually, totaling more than 2,000 H-1Bs since the turn of the century.

Queen of Outsourcing Jobs, Importing Foreign Workers

With Nooyi’s track record of swapping out American workers for foreign workers both abroad — through $1 billion in Pepsi outsourcing contracts — and stateside — by importing H1Bs to fill American jobs — it is no wonder the CT Tech Workers Coalition is wary of Gov. Lamont’s move in naming Nooyi to the state’s economic counsel.  

Connecticut’s economic woes will move from bad to worse if Nooyi is granted the same opportunities to lead Nutmeggers out of good paying jobs while waving her wand and giving those jobs over to foreign workers, stateside and abroad.

Furthermore, the CT Tech Workers Coalition is wary of Nooyi’s dealings with bringing Infosys in to make a deal with the state and draining public coffers of $14 million to reward Infosys for questionable hiring practices in Connecticut, a state where they have profited for years as an outsourcer. The CT Tech Workers Coalition staged a protest rally in opposition to the state giveaway to Infosys. The group fears Infosys won’t hire local Americans, but will bring in foreign workers on H-1B visas, or outsource the work.

Now, with Nooyi’s being named to the state’s economic council, Connecticut’s workers must watch out for the diva of displacement.