Reckitt Benckiser poaches PepsiCo exec for CEO role

Consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser has selected PepsiCo’s
global chief commercial officer Laxman Narasimhan as its next chief executive, the first external candidate to be appointed CEO of the business since it was formed in 1999.

Narasimhan is due to take up the CEO role on September 1, replacing 60-year-old Rakesh Kapoor who has been at the helm for over eight years and recently announced his intentions to retire this year.

During his time in charge Kapoor launched a restructuring plan, dubbed RB 2.0, to split the group into two business units, one for health and one for hygiene and home products, under the same parent company.

The maker of Durex condoms, Nurofen tablets and Dettol cleaners said on Wednesday that Narasimhan will be tasked with delivering that plan, due to be completed in 2020.

“I’m delighted to be joining RB as the next Chief Executive Officer at an exciting time for the business,” Narasimhan said in a statement.

“It is a special company with a long history of outperformance, creating innovative products and iconic brands which improve the health and lives of people across the globe. I’m looking forward to working with an exceptional group of leaders over the coming years to continue to transform RB.”

Chris Sinclair, chairman of the Reckitt Benckiser Board said they are confident in Narasimhan’s abilities to lead the company.

“Laxman has exceptional strategic capabilities and consumer insight with a proven track record in developing purpose-led brands and driving consumer centric and digital innovation, Sinclair said.

“This, combined with his excellent people engagement and leadership skills, gives the Board confidence that he will continue to evolve the strong culture of RB and deliver outperformance.”

The appointment is the latest in a series of external hirings at major consumer goods companies as they change tact to compete with smaller brands that are gaining momentum in the digital marketplace.

Changes at PepsiCo

PepsiCo announced on Wednesday that the vacant chief commercial officer position will be filled by the company’s Greater China CEO Ram Krishnan.

Prior to his appointment to lead the China side of the business in 2017, Krishnan held successive roles at Frito-Lay and Walmart.

Commenting on the appointment, PepsiCo chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said, “Ram is a proven leader with deep consumer and customer understanding who also knows how to harness data to drive business growth.”

“Ram understands the importance of competing locally, which has driven his ability to win in both Eastern and Western markets. He is just the kind of competitive, strategic leader we need as PepsiCo continues on our journey to accelerate growth.”



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