Starbucks has appointed Laxman Narasimhan as the company’s next chief executive officer and also made him a member of its board of directors.
Narasimhan will join Starbucks as incoming CEO on October 1, 2022, after relocating from London to the Seattle area and will work closely with Howard Schultz, interim CEO, before assuming the CEO role and joining the board on April 1, 2023, the global coffee chain says in a statement.
This comes hours after fast moving consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser announced that Narasimhan will be stepping down as its CEO on September 30, 2022.
“Laxman has decided for personal and family reasons to relocate back to the United States and has been approached for an opportunity that enables him to live there,” the Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company had said.
Narasimhan, who holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, University of Pune, joins the growing ranks of Indian origin CEOs who are heading big US companies like Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai of Alphabet, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Punit Renjen of Deloitte and Raj Subramaniam of FedEx.
During the transition period, Narasimhan will be fully immersed in the company, spending time with Schultz and the management team, partners and customers and gaining exposure to the brand, company culture, and reinvention plan, says Starbucks.
This will initially include Starbucks store immersions, visiting manufacturing plants and coffee farms, connecting with partners around the globe as well as Starbucks long term business partners, it adds.
Schultz will remain in the role of interim CEO during this transition period, following which he will continue as a member of the Starbucks board of directors. He will remain closely involved with the company’s reinvention and act as an ongoing adviser to Narasimhan, the coffee giant says.
Narasimhan has nearly 30 years of experience leading and advising global consumer-facing brands. Previously, he held various leadership roles at PepsiCo, including as global chief commercial officer, where he was responsible for the company’s long-term strategy and digital capabilities. Prior to PepsiCo, Narasimhan was a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on its consumer, retail and technology practices in the U.S., Asia and India and led the firm’s thinking on the future of retail.
“When I learned about Laxman’s desire to relocate, it became apparent that he is the right leader to take Starbucks into its next chapter. He is uniquely positioned to shape this work and lead the company forward with his partner-centered approach and demonstrated track record of building capabilities and driving growth in both mature and emerging markets,” Schultz says.