Starbucks’ new CEO Laxman Narasimhan to take over from Howard Schultz

Starbucks It on Thursday appointed Laxman Narasimhan as its next chief executive officer.

Narasimhan most recently served as CEO of health and wellness company Reckitt, which owns brands such as Lysol, Durex and Mucinex. He announced his resignation earlier Thursday. He will join Starbucks in October, learn about the company and its reinvention plan, and move into the top job in April.

Until then, Howard Schultz will continue as interim CEO of the coffee chain he has grown into a global giant. Narasimhan will succeed Schultz on the Starbucks board.

Schultz has been at the helm since April when his handpicked successor, Kevin Johnson, retired. After five years of employment. Schultz returned to the company as its interim CEO, receiving just $1 in salary. Meanwhile, Schultz and the Starbucks board have been searching for a long-term successor, with the goal of announcing a new CEO in the fall. (The coffee chain brought back the pumpkin spice latte and other fall menu items on Tuesday.)

Schultz has previously said he wants to reinvent the employee, customer and store experience to account for how the world has changed since the pandemic. The company is holding an investor day in Seattle on September 13, where it is expected to reveal more details about the bold changes it plans to make.

Starbucks said A press release Schultz will remain “closely involved” with the project and act as an advisor to Narasimhan.

Narasimhan worked earlier PepsiCo, serving as its global chief commercial officer, among other roles. Prior to working for the food and beverage company, he was a senior partner at McKinsey.

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As CEO, he has to face many challenges. In its own market, Starbucks faces a union push, with more than 200 stores in the U.S. voting to organize under Workers United. The battle has resulted in negative headlines and legal battles. Inflation has not yet affected sales, but it has pushed up menu prices. China, its second-largest market, is struggling to recover from the pandemic, hampered by the country’s zero-covid policy.

“His deep experience driving strategic change in global consumer-facing businesses makes him the ideal choice to accelerate Starbucks growth and seize the opportunities ahead of us,” Starbucks Board Chair Melody Hobson said in a statement.

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