Last Thursday, Starbucks announced the hiring of a new CEO, Laxman Narasimhan, who will replace Howard Schultz in April. Narasimhan came into the organization at a critical time, as both unionization and inflation are affecting the coffee retail chain.
Former CEO Howard Schultz joined the company just a year ago when it was in pretty bad shape. Taking over after Kevin Jhonson, Schultz is frequently referred to as the CEO who brought the company back from the brink.
Schultz, as the current CEO, participated actively in the hiring process. Narasimhan was selected because he was a servant leader who had a deep sense of humility. It is Laxman’s first and foremost qualities as a servant leader that make him stand out.”
Laxman Narasimhan has served numerous large organizations throughout his career. Previously, he served as an executive for PepsiCo and is currently CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, a maker of household products such as Lysol disinfectant and Durex.
The journey of Laxman Narasimhan began when he moved to the US to pursue his studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Once he finished his studies, he joined McKinsey & Company as a senior partner. After joining PepsiCo in 2012, Narasimhan worked his way through the ranks and eventually began overseeing operations across Latin America, Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa.
According to Howard Schultz, Starbucks was attracted to Narasimhan because of his breadth of experience across industries and international borders. A true operator, he has the DNA of an entrepreneur.”
According to Starbucks, Narasimhan’s experience in Supply Chain and his connections in the corporate world will be of great value to the company. There will be a lot on Narasimhan’s plate, from handling a mainstream brand in inflation to fighting off unionization threats.
The achievement puts Narasimhan among the list of Indian Origin CEOs who have conquered big names in business despite humble beginnings. Among Indian-owned companies are IBM, Microsoft, Twitter, Adobe, Micron, Chanel, Pepsi, and now even Starbucks.