Laxman Narasimhan announced as next Starbucks CEO; all you need to know about him

Starbucks is facing several challenges, including increasing unionisation, higher costs of ingredients and labour as well as reworking its business model. The company is hoping for Laxman Narasimhan to turn its fortunes around

FP Trending September 02, 2022 11:45:19 IST
Laxman Narasimhan announced as next Starbucks CEO; all you need to know about him

Laxman Narasimhan. ANI

Starbucks has announced Indian-origin Laxman Narasimhan has its next chief executive officer (CEO). Laxman Narasimhan will join the American coffee brand in October, but will take over the top job in April 2023. Until then, Howard Schultz, the interim-CEO, will continue to manage Starbucks. Laxman Narasimhan joins the list of Indian-origin CEOs leading companies all over the world like Sundar Pichai at Google, Leena Nair at Chanel and Parag Agrawal at Twitter. According to a statement by Mellody Hobson, Starbucks chairwoman, to the Wall Street Journal, “We have asked Schultz to remain as interim CEO until April 2023 to assist the new CEO. Narasimhan will assume the CEO role on 1 April. He will take over the world’s largest coffee chain in a number of locations and sales.”

The news has ignited a flurry of comments on social media. As people celebrate the announcement of Laxman Narasimhan becoming Starbucks’ next CEO, here is a short profile on him:

Early life and career:

Laxman Narasimhan was born in Pune. After completing his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, University of Pune, he left for the United States in 1991 to attend the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. After finishing his education, he joined McKinsey & Company, later becoming a senior partner at the global consulting firm.

In 2012, Laxman Narasimhan joined PepsiCo, where he soon proved his worth and became chief commercial officer.

He is also a trustee of the Brooking Institution and a member of the Board of Directors at Verizon. The 55-year-old is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served in the UK Prime Minister’s Build Back Better council as well.

Move to Reckitt:

In 2019, he joined Reckitt as the CEO. The company, which owns brands like Lysol and Durex, hired him to revive the conglomerate. According to reports, Laxman Narasimhan was the first external candidate to helm the company. He was much appreciated for his management style and helped revitalise the company. He led Reckitt during the coronavirus pandemic and the baby formula crisis in the United States.

The 55-year-old had been looking for a job opportunity to allow him to relocate to the US, where both his adult children live, as per The New York Times.

The shares of FTSE-listed Reckitt slumped over 4 percent after Narasimhan announced that he was stepping down.

Role at Starbucks:

Laxman Narasimhan will join Starbuck in October and spend the time before taking over to learn about the retail chain “Reinvention Plan”. “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 in-depth exposure to the brand, company culture, and Reinvention plan.

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,” a statement by the company said.

Narasimhan will be given $1.3 million in annual base salary. He will also be paid a $1.6 million cash signing bonus as well as a replacement equity grant with a target value of $9.25 million to compensate for the incentives he gives up after leaving Reckitt, according to a Bloomberg report.

Challenges ahead:

Starbucks is facing several challenges, including increasing unionisation, higher costs of ingredients and labour as well as reworking its business model. The company is hoping for Laxman Narasimhan to turn its fortunes around.

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