Starbucks recently announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Laxman Narasimhan, who’ll take over the coffee giant’s leadership in October. The Indian-American business executive is currently with Reckitt Benckiser. Here’s a quick look at his credentials and journey so far.

Laxman Narasimhan will assume the responsibilities as Starbucks CEO from Howard Schultz — who’s currently at the helm of affairs — from October 1. The latter will reportedly continue to serve as Interim Chief until April 2023.

Laxman Narasimhan was raised in India


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Narasimhan was born in 1967 and raised in Pune. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering Pune and a master’s in German and International Studies from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He also has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania. He noted that he wakes up at 5:00 am to meditate and exercise — beginning work at 7:00 am and is currently married with two children. The journey along the way, however, wasn’t easy.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, he reflected on his difficult childhood, stating that his siblings had passed away at an early age. His father then established a business that supplied mechanical parts to the US, which was rocky as well. Scholarships and multiple jobs took Narasimhan to college outside of India. However, he would often head back home to care for his father, who’d fallen ill at the time. “You learn resilience, you learn tolerance, you learn to find a way through,” he noted of his time in India.

He has decades of experience


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Since then, however, he’s worked across multiple industries — retail, technology, healthcare, energy, and manufacturing. He’s also led assignments in the public sector for education and skill building. He spent 19 years at global consulting firm McKinsey & Company — going from director to the location manager at the New Delhi office. Later, he joined PepsiCo as their Chief Commercial Officer. He’s also a Trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and an Advisory Board member of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School, amongst others.

Currently, he heads the UK-based consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser. The company’s official website declares him to be “an outstanding leader who brings wide experience across the consumer goods sector, both operationally and at scale.” He’s also believed to possess exceptional strategic capabilities and consumer insights — with a stellar track record of dealing with brands. Additionally, he’s credited with exceptional people engagement and leadership skills.


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Building on this, Howard Schultz, the current CEO of Starbucks, stated, “As I have had the opportunity to get to know him, it has become clear that he shares our passion of investing in humanity and in our commitment to our partners, customers, and communities.” He added, “The perspectives he brings will be a strong asset as we build on our heritage in this new era of greater well-being.”

What will Laxman Narasimhan’s salary be?

Laxman Narasimhan will join Schultz and the Starbucks management team, partners, and customers in October, spending time learning everything there is to know about the retail chain. This, a report by First Post notes, includes store immersions, manufacturing plants, and coffee farms. He will also be introduced to Starbucks’ long-term business partners. He will be paid US$ 1.3 million in annual salary, along with a US$ 1.6 million cash signing bonus approximately to compensate for the incentives he gives up after leaving Reckitt. With several challenges ahead for the coffee giant, Starbucks hopes to switch things around with their new CEO.

(Main image: Starbucks; Featured image: Laxman Narasimhan)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India

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