Former PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan will succeed Howard Schultz as Starbucks’ CEO, the global coffee chain announced on Thursday. He will join Starbucks on October 1 after relocating from London to Seattle, where the company is based. He will work closely with the interim CEO Schultz before assuming the CEO role and joining the Board on April 1 next year.
Schultz said Narasimhan is “uniquely positioned” to lead the company, with a demonstrated track record of growth in both mature and emerging markets.
“As I have had the opportunity to get to know him, it has become clear that he shares our passion of investing in humanity and in our commitment to our partners, customers, and communities,” Schultz said in a statement.
Who is Laxman Narasimhan?
India-born Laxman Narasimhan has a diverse résumé. He has almost three decades of experience leading and advising global consumer-facing brands. The 55-year-old spent nearly 20 years at McKinsey & Co. He then joined PepsiCo and worked in various executive roles at the company from 2012 to 2019, including as global chief commercial. He also served as CEO of the company’s Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa operations.
He then joined UK.-based consumer health, hygiene and nutrition company Reckitt as CEO. The company makes Lysol cleaner and Enfamil formula, among other products.
On Thursday morning, Reckitt had announced Narasimhan’s surprise departure.
“On behalf of the entire board, I want to thank Laxman for leading the organisation through a significant transformation over the last three years. We wish him and his family all the very best as he fulfils his desire to return to the United States,” Chris Sinclair, chairman of Reckitt, said in a statement.
Laxman Narasimhan has two grown children who live in the United States.