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RB Announces Laxman Narasimhan as Chief Executive Officer

Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (RB) today announces the appointment of Laxman Narasimhan as Chief Executive Officer to succeed Rakesh Kapoor. He will join the Company as CEO-designate and be appointed to the Board as an Executive Director effective 16 July 2019.  He will become Group CEO with effect from 1 September 2019.

Laxman joins RB from PepsiCo where he is currently the Global Chief Commercial Officer responsible for PepsiCo's integrated long-term growth strategy. He has been a member of the PepsiCo executive committee for the last four years reporting to the Chairman and Chief Executive.  He leads Strategy, Global Category Groups, Global R&D and is implementing an advanced digital capability across the PepsiCo business.

Laxman will serve as Group Chief Executive Officer at RB, while also directly leading the Health Business Unit.

Chris Sinclair, Chairman of the Board, commented:

“The Board is delighted to have appointed Laxman as our new Chief Executive Officer after a thorough and rigorous global selection process from a strong bench of internal and external candidates.

Laxman has exceptional strategic capabilities and consumer insight with a proven track record in developing purpose-led brands and driving consumer centric and digital innovation. This, combined with his excellent people engagement and leadership skills, gives the Board confidence that he will continue to evolve the strong culture of RB and deliver outperformance. 

Laxman’s initial priorities will be to focus on delivering outperformance, especially in the Health business unit, and to drive RB2.0. 

I would like to thank Rakesh for his continued leadership of the business and express my gratitude for his commitment and enormous contribution to RB over more than three decades. Rakesh and Laxman will work together over the coming weeks to ensure a seamless leadership transition and handover.” 

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Laxman Narasimhan commented, “I’m delighted to be joining RB as the next Chief Executive Officer at an exciting time for the business. It is a special company with a long history of outperformance, creating innovative products and iconic brands which improve the health and lives of people across the globe. I’m looking forward to working with an exceptional group of leaders over the coming years to continue to transform RB.”

Prior to his current role, Laxman was Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo’s Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa operations, where he ran the Company's food and beverage businesses across the regions. Managing £14.5 billion in revenues across 100 countries and 125,000 employees, he grew both revenue and earnings at accelerated industry leading rates over the past two years. He achieved this by making the business more consumer-centric, bringing more digital capability, strengthening leadership teams and driving productivity. He has a strong track record of positive engagement with both internal and external stakeholders, which included bottlers, governments, the Nature Conservancy on water sustainability and partnering with the InterAmerican Development Bank on a number of programs, including women’s empowerment, sustainable farming and recycling.

Laxman was previously the Senior Vice President and CFO of PepsiCo Americas Foods, leading the company’s food businesses for North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean. Prior to PepsiCo, Laxman served as a Director for McKinsey & Company.  He oversaw consumer-facing industries in India, spearheaded McKinsey’s research on the emerging-market digital consumer, co-led McKinsey’s Global Consumer and Shopper Insights Practice and its Global Retail Knowledge Council.  His nearly two decades at McKinsey across Cleveland, Tokyo, Toronto, Silicon Valley and New Delhi provided him with the opportunity to fill a wide array of roles across three continents, adapting to a myriad of cultures and expectations while gaining expertise in multiple industries, including consumer, retail, technology, consumer health and manufacturing. With an interest in global affairs and a desire to improve educational opportunities, he led several public sector initiatives at McKinsey in India with the government, focusing primarily on education and skill-building.

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