Starbucks appoints Laxman Narasimhan as its next CEO

Narasimhan will become the new CEO of Starbucks on October 1st. He will formally take up his duties in April and then join the company’s board of directors.

The Reckitt Benckiser Group, of which Narasimhan most recently served as CEO, announced earlier Thursday that he would retire.

Narasimhan takes over at a pivotal moment for Starbucks.

In the United States, the company is trying to fend off the wave of unionization in the United States. Meanwhile, strict Covid-19 restrictions are hurting the company’s business in China, a critical market.

Six months before Narasimhan officially takes over, he will spend time with Schultz, other company executives, employees and customers and review the rethink plan recently laid out by Schultz, who said the company is in need of a major overhaul.

“The Starbucks business as it is being built today is not designed to fully meet the changing behaviors, needs and expectations of our partners or customers,” Schultz said. wrote in an open letter in July. “It’s not meant for the future we aspire for for ourselves and the communities we serve.”
Schultz’s plan for change includes a “dramatic improvement” in the employee experience and a redesign of stores, he wrote at the time. The company has since made changes, such as closing some stores, citing security concerns.

Narasimhan said in a statement Thursday that he has “humbly” joined Starbucks “as reimagining and investing in partner and customer experience enables us to meet the changing demands we face today.”

On Thursday, Schultz said Narasimhan was the right fit for the job.

“He is a strategic and transformational leader with extensive experience building powerful consumer brands,” said Schultz. “He’s the leader we’ve been looking for.”

Narasimhan’s previous company, Reckitt Benckiser, is based in the UK and makes several hygiene and health brands including Durex, Lysol and Mucinex condoms. In 2019, he was named CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.

This is stated in the message of the British company. previously Thursday that “Laxman has decided, for personal and family reasons, to move back to the United States and has been approached for an opportunity that will allow him to live there.”

Prior to joining Reckitt Benckiser, Narasimhan held several positions in PepsiCo (PKP), including global commercial director. He was also a senior partner at McKinsey, focusing on consumer and retail.

Mellody Hobson, independent chairman of Starbucks, called Narasimhan “an inspiring leader”, adding that “his deep hands-on experience in driving strategic transformation in consumer-facing global companies makes him an ideal choice.”

The news of Narasimhan’s appointment came ahead of Starbucks’ annual investor day on September 13th.

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