On Monday, Laxman Narasimhan, an Indian American business executive, assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer at Starbucks, a multinational coffee chain based in Seattle. Before this role, Narasimhan served as the Chief Commercial Officer at PepsiCo and was also the CEO at Reckitt. He joined Starbucks in October 2022 and has been undergoing training from outgoing CEO Howard Schultz to gain insight into the company’s business and operations.
In September 2022, Starbucks announced that Laxman Narasimhan will take over the post of CEO from April 1, 2023. Narasimhan took the helm of the company two weeks earlier than Starbucks initially said he would.
Howard Schultz who was CEO of Starbucks from 1986 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2017 returned as interim CEO again in March 2022. He took over the position as the then-CEO Kevin Johnson decided to retire. Since his appointment as interim CEO, Schultz and his team were on a run to find a long-term CEO for the multi-billion dollar coffee shop chain.
Who is Laxman Narasimhan?
Laxman Narasimhan who was brought up in the Indian city of Pune completed his gree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune. He later went on to study MA in German and International Studies from The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.
Laxman Narasimhan started his career as an employee at the multinational management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. During his 19 years at the consulting firm, the grew to the position of director and location manager for the firm’s office in the Indian capital New Delhi.
In 2012, Laxman moved from McKinsey & Company to PepsiCo, an American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation. Laxman who has an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania Later became the chief commercial officer of the multinational giant.
After 7 years at PepsiCo, he moved to the British consumer goods company, Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC. He joined Reckitt Benckiser as Chief Executive Officer of the company while it was going through a tumultuous period.
In September last year to the surprise of everyone, the company announced Laxman will be resigning from the post of CEO due to personal and family-related matters. Later the news emerged that he will be joining Starbucks to become CEO in 2023.
What Starbucks has in store for Laxman Narasimhan
Mr. Laxman is taking over the reins of Starbucks at a time when the company is in a major restructuring program. He will now be responsible for overseeing the completion of a huge number of changes made under Schultz. The company had last year announced plans for $450 million in-store upgrades and an expansion of its loyalty program.
Starbucks is also facing the issue of unionization with employees at nearly 200 stores forming unions last year. Senate committees and various other organizations are currently looking into the response of the coffee chain toward these unionization efforts.