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Starbucks Taps Former PepsiCo Executive as Next CEO

Starbucks has named Laxman Narasimhan as its next CEO. Narasimhan will relocate from London to the Seattle area to join the company on Oct. 1, 2022, and will work closely with interim CEO Howard Schultz before officially assuming the CEO role and joining the Starbucks Board of Directors on April 1, 2023.

Narasimhan will be fully immersed in the company during the transition period and will spend time with Schultz and the management team, partners and customers to gain in-depth exposure to the brand, company culture and Reinvention plan. His agenda will include Starbucks store immersions, visiting manufacturing plants and coffee farms and connecting with partners around the globe as well as Starbucks’ long-term business partners.

Schultz will remain in the role of interim CEO during this transition period. He will then continue as a member of the Starbucks Board of Directors and will remain closely involved with the company’s Reinvention, acting as an ongoing advisor to Narasimhan.

“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,” said Schultz in a statement. “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. As I have had the opportunity to get to know him, it has become clear that he shares our passion of investing in humanity and in our commitment to our partners, customers and communities.”

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Narasimhan brings nearly 30 years of experience leading and advising global consumer-facing brands, most recently as CEO of Reckitt, a multinational consumer health, hygiene and nutrition company where he led the company through a major strategic transformation and a return to sustainable growth. He previously held various leadership roles at PepsiCo, including Global Chief Commercial Officer; CEO of Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa operations; CEO of PepsiCo Latin America; and CFO of PepsiCo Americas Foods.

Prior to PepsiCo, Narasimhan was a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he focused on its consumer, retail and technology practices in the U.S., Asia and India and led the firm’s thinking on the future of retail.

“Starbucks’ commitment to uplift humanity through connection and compassion has long distinguished the company, building an unrivaled, globally admired brand that has transformed the way we connect over coffee,” said Narasimhan in a statement. “I am humbled to be joining this iconic company at such a pivotal time, as the Reinvention and investments in the partner and customer experiences position us to meet the changing demands we face today and set us up for an even stronger future.”

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