Laxman Narasimhan, current president of the Americas region, will take over as chief executive officer of Starbucks, beginning in April 2019, the company announced on Tuesday. Chairman and CEO Kevin Johnson will step down from his role in April and remain at the company as executive chairman through June to help guide the transition process. In the meantime, Narasimhan will be working with Johnson to ensure an effective leadership transition and continued strategic growth during this time, according to a press release from Starbucks.
Laxman Narasimhan has been selected as Starbucks’ new CEO as of Thursday.
Most recently, Narasimhan was CEO of Reckitt, a health and hygiene firm that owns brands including Lysol, Durex, and Mucinex. He made his intention to leave that position known early on Thursday. Before taking over as CEO in April, he will join Starbucks in October to learn more about the organisation and its plan for transformation.
Howard Schultz will continue serving as the temporary CEO of the coffee company he built into a major worldwide player until then. After Narasimhan replaces him, Schultz will continue to serve on the Starbucks board.
Since Kevin Johnson, his hand-picked successor, left the position in April after five years on the job, Schultz has been in charge. Schultz rejoined the business as its acting CEO, receiving a salary of just $1. With the objective of unveiling the new CEO in the autumn, Schultz and the Starbucks board searched for a long-term replacement in the interim. (On Tuesday, the coffee chain reintroduced the Pumpkin Spice Latte and other seasonal menu items.)
In order to take into account how the world has evolved since the epidemic, Schultz has previously stated that he wants to reimagine the employee, customer, and retail experiences. On September 13, the firm is hosting an investor day in Seattle, where it is anticipated to provide further information regarding the significant changes it intends to undertake.
In a press release, Starbucks stated that Schultz will continue to be “closely involved” with the strategy and serve as Narasimhan’s advisor.
Previously employed at PepsiCo, Narasimhan held a variety of positions including global chief commercial officer. He was a senior partner at McKinsey before joining the multinational food and beverage company.
He’ll have a lot of obstacles to face in his role as CEO. With more than 200 U.S. outlets choosing to unionise under Workers United, Starbucks is facing a union campaign in its home market. Negative press coverage and legal disputes are the outcome of the conflict. Although it hasn’t yet affected sales, inflation has increased menu pricing. Additionally, China, its second-largest market, is having a difficult time recovering from the epidemic due to the nation’s zero Covid policy.
According to Starbucks board chair Mellody Hobson, “his vast, hands-on expertise managing strategic reforms at global consumer-facing organisations makes him the best option to drive Starbucks growth and grasp the possibilities ahead of us.”