HomeBusinessStarbucks Appoints New CEO | CNN Business

Starbucks Appoints New CEO | CNN Business

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CNN Business

Starbucks has appointed Laxman Narasimhan as its next CEO.

Narasimhan will become Starbucks’ new CEO on October 1. He will officially start in April and will also join the company’s board of directors.

The Reckitt Benckiser Group, where Narasimhan was most recently CEO, announced: earlier on Thursday that he would resign.

Howard Schultz, who took over as Starbucks interim CEO from outgoing CEO Kevin Johnson last spring, will remain as interim CEO throughout the transition. He will remain on the board of Starbucks.

Narasimhan steps into the role at a pivotal moment for Starbucks.

In the United States, the company is trying to fend off a union wave in the United States. Meanwhile, strict Covid-19 restrictions have hurt the company’s operations in China, a critical market.

In the six months before Narasimhan officially takes over, he will spend time with Schultz, other business leaders, employees and customers and learn about the reinvention plan recently drawn up by Schultz, who said the company needs a revamp.

“The Starbucks business as it is built today was not designed to fully meet the changing behaviors, needs and expectations of our partners or customers,” Schultz wrote in an open letter in July. “It’s not designed for the future we aspire to for ourselves and the communities in which we serve.”

Schultz’s plan for change includes “radically improving” the employee experience and redesigning stores, he wrote at the time. The company has since made changes, such as closing some stores, citing safety concerns.

Narasimhan said in a statement Thursday that he is “humiliated” to join Starbucks “because the reinvention and investment in the partner and customer experiences enable us to meet the evolving demands we face today.”

On Thursday, Schultz said Narasimhan is the right person for the job.

“He is a strategic and transformational leader with deep experience building powerful consumer brands,” said Schultz. “He is the leader we were looking for.”

Narasimhan’s previous company, Reckitt Benckiser, is the UK-based manufacturer of several hygiene and health brands, including Durex condoms, Lysol and Mucinex. In 2019, he was named CEO of the multi-billion dollar company.

The British company said in a statement: earlier Thursday that “For personal and family reasons, Laxman has decided to move back to the United States and has been approached for an opportunity that would allow him to live there.”

Prior to joining Reckitt Benckiser, Narasimhan held several positions at PepsiCo (PEP), including global chief commercial officer. He was also a senior partner at McKinsey, with a focus on consumer and retail.

Mellody Hobson, independent chairman of the Starbucks board, called Narasimhan “an inspirational leader” and added that “his deep, hands-on experience driving strategic transformation at global consumer-facing companies makes him the ideal choice.”

News of Narasimhan’s appointment comes ahead of Starbucks’ annual investor day on September 13.

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