Jun 12, 2019

Reckitt Benckiser picks food industry veteran Narasimhan for top job

Reckitt Benckiser has poached a top executive from PepsiCo to serve as its chief executive, passing over internal candidates in favour of a consumer industry veteran with a strong record in both mature and emerging markets. Laxman Narasimhan, who is currently the chief commercial officer of the US-based soft drinks and snacks group, will join Reckitt Benckiser in mid-July for a transition period and succeed Rakesh Kapoor on September 1, Reckitt said in a statement on Wednesday. Reckitt chairman Chris Sinclair said the board had considered about 60 candidates for the top post before selecting the company's first outside leader since it was formed in 1999 from the merger of Reckitt & Colman of the UK and the Dutch company Benckiser. Mr Narasimhan arrives at a delicate time for Reckitt Benckiser as it tries to revive sales growth at its health division - its most profitable arm, accounting for nearly two-thirds of group revenue. Mr Narasimhan said he relished the chance to lead Reckitt Benckiser, which had "World-leading brands" with wide appeal from China to South Africa.

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