Starbucks named Laxman Narasimhan as its next CEO

Starbucks appoints outgoing leader Reckitt as next CEO

Starbucks Names Laxman Narasimhan as Its Next CEO – Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File SCOTT OLSON

On Thursday, Starbucks named Laxman Narasimhan, a veteran of PepsiCo and other consumer brands, as its next chief executive.

Narasimhan, who most recently was chief executive of Anglo-Dutch multinational Reckitt, will move to Seattle from London and join Starbucks on October 1, the company said.

After a long run with longtime Starbucks CEO and interim head Howard Schultz, Narasimhan will take the number one spot on April 1, 2023.

The transition comes as Starbucks manages a growing union movement in the US after a difficult period for workers during Covid-19.

Starbucks responded to this push by increasing investment in payroll and stores as Schultz undertook an “audition” to listen to employee concerns.

Narasimhan “is uniquely positioned to shape this work and drive the company forward with his partner-centric approach,” Schultz said, calling him “the right leader to take Starbucks to the next level.”

Starbucks Workers United member Michelle Eisen urged Narasimhan to end the “scorched earth campaign against unions” and work with all Starbucks partners to make Starbucks a better company and a better place to work.

Neil Saunders, analyst at GlobalData Retail, said the appointment was a “good move” in light of Narasimhan’s track record in overseas markets and experience in retail.

“One of Mr. Narasimhan’s challenges will be to keep Starbucks at the forefront. Howard Schultz has already laid out some rudimentary plans for this,” Saunders said.

“Given that Mr. Schultz was involved in the hiring process, we believe the transition will be relatively smooth as Starbucks moves into its next chapter.”

Earlier Thursday, Rekitt announced Narasimhan’s departure, saying he was motivated to return to the United States “for personal and family reasons.”

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