Two women leaders from the world of business were among those honoured by Cranfield University at graduation celebrations today (28 June).

Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive of PepsiCo and Sarah Willingham, entrepreneur, investor and consumer expert, joined more than 1,000 postgraduate students from more than 100 countries receiving their degrees from Cranfield University today, on the first of two days of celebrations.

Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, said: “I’m delighted this year that we are honouring two remarkable businesswomen. Indra and Sarah have made stellar contributions to their fields and we are proud that they are with us today to accept their honorary degree.”

Indra Nooyi is Chairman and Chief Executive of PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies. PepsiCo’s main businesses include Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Walkers and Pepsi-Cola, with more than $63 billion in annual net revenue.

Mrs Nooyi is the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s commitment to delivering sustained growth with a focus on making healthier products, protecting our planet, and empowering people.

On receiving her honorary degree, Indra Nooyi, said: “It’s truly a privilege to receive this award from such a remarkable institution. As the CEO of a company committed to what we call Performance with Purpose—doing what’s right for our business while being responsive to the needs of the world around us—we have learned a lot from Cranfield University about reducing food waste, curbing post-harvest losses, and driving greater yields for the world’s farmers. 

“Together, in partnership, we are working to make the world more sustainable. I am deeply moved by this honour, and grateful to Baroness Young of Old Scone, Professor Sir Peter Gregson, and everyone at Cranfield for their recognition and ongoing partnership.”

Sarah Willingham is an entrepreneur, investor and consumer expert. Sarah has received a number of accolades for her contribution to business, in January 2016, she was named one of The Sunday Times’ ‘500 Most Influential people in Britain’. Between 2006 and 2008, Sarah appeared alongside Raymond Blanc as a judge and investor on the popular television series The Restaurant. In 2015, she was asked to join BBC2’s Dragons’ Den and, during two series, invested in six enterprises. She completed her MBA at Cranfield in 2003 and is a member of the Cranfield School of Management’s Advisory Board.

Receiving her degree, Sarah Willingham, said:

“‭I loved my time at Cranfield studying for my MBA, it ‭has always been a special place for me and I’m deeply ‭honoured to be receiving this award."

Notes for editors

Other recipients of honorary degrees this year:

Christian Horner, team principal of Formula 1 team Red Bull Racing
Martin Bromiley, Founder, Clinical Human Factor Group
Tony Fernandes, Group CEO, AirAsia
Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer, Rolls Royce
Cressida Dick, Commissioner, Metropolitan Police

About Cranfield University

Cranfield has been a world leader in management education and research for over 50 years, helping individuals and organisations learn and succeed by transforming knowledge into action. We are dedicated to creating responsible management thinking, improving business performance and inspiring the next generation of business leaders. We work to change the lives of our students and executives by encouraging innovation and creative thinking, as well as the drive to succeed and make a real impact on their organisations.

Organisations as diverse as Jaguar Land Rover, BAE Systems, Royal Dutch Shell, L’Oréal, UNICEF and the African Development Bank have benefited from our work, which ranges from management research projects, through staff talent management development on our MBA courses, to customised executive programmes.

Cranfield is one of an elite group of Schools worldwide to hold the triple accreditation of: AACSB International (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) and AMBA (the Association of MBAs).

We are in the Top 10 International Business Schools in the Forbes’ ranking.

Our open and customised executive education programmes are ranked in the top five in the UK, according to the latest Financial Times survey, and in the top ten in the world for international reach. Over 10,000 people come to Cranfield each year to benefit from our executive and professional development programmes.