“History tells us that powerful people come from powerful places. History was wrong! Powerful people make places powerful” – A dialogue from KGF 2
So, says Laxman Narasimhan not only broke the glass ceiling in corporate America when he was appointed as Starbucks new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) inspiring millions who aspire to emulate the sucess of the man himself for a better future.
With that being said, the Indian-American will be taking over the coffee giant’s leadership from April 2023. With nearly 30,000 cafes across the globe, Starbucks has become more than just a household name.
Narasimhan who is currently serving the position of global CEO of the Reckitt Benckiser Group will be stepping down from the company on September 30 by ending his three-year stint with the company.
Let’s look at his credentials and journey to date….
Known as one of the most powerful and influential business leaders in the world, Narasimhan held various leadership roles at PepsiCo, including as global chief commercial officer, where he was responsible for the company’s long-term strategy and digital capabilities. He also served as CEO of the company’s Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa operations, and previously as the CEO of PepsiCo Latin America, and the Chief Financial Officer (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. In an interview with The Sunday Times, he recalled on his difficult childhood by stating that his siblings had passed away at an early age. After multiple failures, his father started a company that supplied mechanical components in the United States.
Narasimhan left India to pursue a higher education after he was offered a scholarship. While studying abroad, he took several part-time jobs. But he frequently returned home to care for his sick father at the time.
He reflected on his experience in India by saying, “You learn resilience, you learn tolerance, you learn to find a way through.”
Along the way, Narasimhan tumbled down some steps, breaking his elbow the night before Reckitt was due to report results – and continued with business as usual. According to his colleagues, it’s not unusual to receive emails before sunrise. His determination and passion towards his career have definitely proven to us that nothing is impossible if you work hard and smart.
Narasimhan joined Reckitt less than a year before the world was wiped out due to the spread of Covid-19. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Pune in India and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Due to the uncertainty, he stayed apart from his wife and grown-up children while he worked for Reckitt in a two-bedroom apartment in Britain that he shared with his elderly mother. Apart from being a prominent face of leadership across the world, he was also the epitome of success for the millions of young lads and lasses who aspired to be like him.