Reckitt Benckiser ropes in PepsiCo executive as next CEO

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Published: June 12, 2019 1:07:22 PM

Narasimhan joins Reckitt at a time the company is struggling with slower growth, little pricing power and changing consumer habits.

Dettol is RB’s iconic brand.

British consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser on Wednesday named PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan as its next chief executive officer, to succeed Rakesh Kapoor. Narasimhan, PepsiCo’s global chief commercial officer, will join Reckitt as CEO-designate and be appointed to the board on July 16. He will become group CEO on Sept. 1, the company said in a statement. Narasimhan joins Reckitt at a time the company is struggling with slower growth, little pricing power and changing consumer habits.

Unilever, Campbell Soup, British American Tobacco and PepsiCo have all named new CEOs in recent months, charging a new generation to rekindle growth as the industry heavyweights try to fight back against media-savvy upstarts. Narasimhan’s initial priorities will be to boost performance, especially in the health business, and to drive the Lysol maker’s plan to split into two separate business units – one for health and one for hygiene and home products – under the same parent company, Reckitt said in a statement.

Narasimhan led Strategy, Global Category Groups and Global R&D in his capacity as Chief Commercial Officer at PepsiCo. Prior to that, he headed the beverage maker’s Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa operations managing annual sales of 14.5 billion pounds ($18.5 billion) and at one time was also the Chief Financial Officer of the company’s Americas Foods business. PepsiCo named Ram Krishnan, currently CEO Greater China, as its new chief commercial officer. As CEO of Reckitt, Narasimhan will get a salary of 950,000 pounds and will be eligible to participate in the company’s annual bonus plan with a target of 120% of salary, Reckitt said. Kapoor said in January he would leave by the end of 2019 after more than eight years at the helm.

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