Narasimhan will become the new CEO of Starbucks on October 1. He will officially take office in April and will then also join the company’s board of directors.
The Reckitt Benckiser Group, of which Narasimhan recently served as CEO, announced earlier Thursday that he would resign.
Howard Schultz, who took over Starbucks from outgoing CEO Kevin Johnson on an interim basis last spring, will remain acting CEO throughout the transition. He will remain on the Starbucks board of directors.
Narasimhan steps into the role at a pivotal time for Starbucks.
In the six months leading up to Narasimhan officially taking office, he will spend time with Schultz, other business leaders, employees and customers and learn about the reinvention plan recently presented by Schultz, who said the company needed an overhaul.
“The Starbucks business as built today is not configured to fully meet the changing behaviors, needs and expectations of our partners or customers,” Schultz said. written in an open letter in July. “It is not designed for the future we aspire to for ourselves and the communities in which we serve.”
Schultz’s plan for change includes “drastically improving” the employee experience and redesigning stores, he wrote at the time. The company has since made changes such as closure of some stores, citing security concerns.
Narasimhan said in a statement Thursday that he was “humbled” to join Starbucks “because reinventing and investing in partner and customer experiences positions us to meet the changing demands we face today.”
On Thursday, Schultz said Narasimhan was the right person for the job.
“He is a strategic and transformational leader with deep experience building powerful consumer brands,” Schultz said. “He’s the leader we were looking for.”
Narasimhan’s former company, Reckitt Benckiser, is the UK manufacturer of several hygiene and health brands, including Durex, Lysol and Mucinex condoms. He was named CEO of the multi-billion dollar company in 2019.
The British company said in a statement earlier Thursday that “Laxman has decided for personal and family reasons to return to the United States and has been approached for an opportunity to live there.”
Prior to joining Reckitt Benckiser, Narasimhan held several positions at PepsiCo
(DYNAMISM), including the Global Commercial Director. He was also a senior partner at McKinsey, focusing on consumer and retail.
Mellody Hobson, Independent Chairman of the Board of Directors of Starbucks, called Narasimhan “an inspiring leader”, adding that “his deep and practical experience driving strategic transformations in global consumer-facing companies makes him the choice.” ideal”.
News of Narasimhan’s appointment comes ahead of Starbucks’ annual Investor Day on September 13.