Indian-origin Laxman Narasimhan to be the next CEO of Starbucks

Narasimhan holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, University of Pune, India.

Laxman Narasimhan, 55-year-old, has been named as the new CEO of coffee chain giant Starbucks.

Narasimhan holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, University of Pune, India. He has an MA in German and International Studies from The Lauder Institute at The University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Finance from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.

Narasimhan brings nearly 30 years of experience leading and advising global consumer-facing brands. He was most recently serving as CEO of U.K.-based Reckitt, which owns brands like Lysol, Durex and Mucinex. He announced earlier Thursday he was stepping down from that role.

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Image source: Laxman Narasimhan (Twitter)

Narasimhan has previously worked at PepsiCo as its global chief commercial officer and as a senior partner at McKinsey. He join Starbucks in October 2022, learning about the company and its reinvention plan, before assuming the top job in April 2023.

He is also a trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, served as a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Build Back Better Council, and is a member of Verizon’s Board of Directors. 

Image source: Starbucks board chair Mellody Hobson (CNN screenshot)

Starbucks board chair Mellody Hobson said in a statement that “We really do believe that we have found an exceptional individual to be our next CEO. He’s a tested leader.”

Hobson added:

“His deep, hands-on experience driving strategic transformations at global consumer-facing businesses makes him the ideal choice to accelerate Starbucks growth and capture the opportunities ahead of us.”

Image source: Howard Schultz (Wikimedia commons0

Howard Schultz, who is presently the interim CEO of Starbucks, said in a statement that Narasimhan is “the right leader”.

Schultz observed

“When I learned about Laxman’s desire to relocate, it became apparent that he is the right leader to take Starbucks into its next chapter. He is uniquely positioned to shape this work and lead the company forward with his partner-centered approach and demonstrated track record of building capabilities and driving growth in both mature and emerging markets.”

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In a tweet, Indian-American venture capitalist, Asha Jadeja Motwani said: “The humility & hard work ethic of Indian-born CEOs has strengthened corporate America like never before.”

Neil Saunders, who is the Managing Director of GlobalData Retail and founder of Conlumino, said ina. tweet that Narasimhan is “a good appointment for Starbucks CEO. A safe and proven pair of hands for the upcoming challenges of unionization and margin compression.”

There were 33.83 thousand Starbucks stores worldwide in 2021. The company is also holding an investor day on September 13 in Seattle. It is expected that the management will reveal some more details about their planned changes.

Narasimhan will relocate from London to Seattle as incoming CEO in October and Howard Schultz will continue as interim CEO of the coffee chain giant till April 2023.