Article: Things to know about Laxman Narasimhan, the Indian-origin CEO of the coffee giant Starbucks

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Things to know about Laxman Narasimhan, the Indian-origin CEO of the coffee giant Starbucks

Pune-born Narasimhan is the latest to join the bandwagon of Indian-descent CEOs heading the US-based corporate giants after Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Punit Renjen of Deloitte and Raj Subramaniam of FedEx.
Things to know about Laxman Narasimhan, the Indian-origin CEO of the coffee giant Starbucks

After five months of external search, the US-based coffee giant Starbucks finally zeroed in on the Indian-origin and former Reckitt CEO Laxman Narasimhan as its new CEO. "He has been appointed to the post after former CEO Kevin Johnson stepped down in April following five years at the helm," said Mellody Hobson, Independent Starbucks Board of Directors chair.

Narasimhan will join the US-based multinational coffeehouses chain Starbucks as incoming CEO on October 1, 2022, after relocating from London to the Seattle area. He will work closely with Howard Schultz, the interim CEO, before assuming the CEO role and joining the board on April 1, 2023. 

"His understanding of our culture and values, coupled with his expertise as a brand builder, innovation champion, and operational leader will be true differentiators as we position Starbucks for the next 50 years, generating value for all our stakeholders."

Things to know about Laxman Narasimhan

An alumnus of Loyola High School, Pune, Narasimhan holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune. After graduation, he relocated to the US and completed a Master of Arts (MA) in International/Global Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. The Indian-origin CEO of Starbucks also holds an MBA from the Wharton School.

Starting from the consulting firm McKinsey in Delhi, Narasimhan served the global soft-drink brand PepsiCo, and the UK-based consumer health, hygiene, and nutrition company Reckitt in various capacities, including as CEO.

The 55-year-old Narasimhan is relocating from London to Seattle for the Starbucks CEO role. He has been living in London for nearly three and a half years; prior to that, he lived and worked in New York.

During his tenure at Reckitt, the newly-appointed CEO of Starbucks led the company through a major strategic transformation and a return to sustainable growth.

Narasimhan has close to 30 years of experience and a proven track record in developing purpose-led brands, though he does not have any experience in restaurants.

Before joining Reckitt, Narasimhan worked at PepsiCo, where he held various leadership roles, including as its Global Chief Commercial Officer, responsible for the company’s long-term strategy and digital capabilities. He also served as CEO of the company’s Latin America, Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa operations and PepsiCo Latin America’s CEO and CFO of PepsiCo Americas Foods.

According to a report by Bloomberg, he will get an annual base salary of US$1.3 million and will also be paid a US$1.6 million cash signing bonus and a replacement equity grant with a target value of US$9.25 million to make up for incentives that he forfeits by leaving Reckitt.

Additionally, Narasimhan has been involved in many think tanks, such as the Nature Conservancy Latin America Conservation Council, The Brookings Institution, and Verizon as a trustee and member.

Narasimhan is the latest to join the bandwagon of Indian-descent CEOs heading the US-based corporate giants after Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Punit Renjen of Deloitte and Raj Subramaniam of FedEx.

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