McKinsey alumnus Laxman Narasimhan new Reckitt Benckiser CEO

14 November 2019 2 min. read

McKinsey & Company is known to be a major breeding ground for future leaders in the world of business and beyond. The latest example of this has seen former McKinsey Director Laxman Narasimhan commence a new role as the head of consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser.

As one of the world’s most prestigious consulting firms – and the largest of the MBB trio at the top of the strategy consulting segment – McKinsey & Company boasts a number of high-profile alumni, including a long list of government ministers and Chief Executive Officers. The long list of successful McKinsey alumni includes Greece’s new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis; former Foreign Secretary of Britain William Hague; Allianz CEO Oliver Bäte; Vodaphone CEO Vittorio Colao and JPMorgan Chase Institute CEO Diana Farrell, among many more.

The latest former McKinsey consultant to land a top executive role is Laxman Narasimhan. Following an initial announcement in June 2019, the former McKinsey Director has finally taken office as the new CEO of British consumer goods multinational Reckitt Benckiser. Founded via an Anglo-Dutch merger in 1999, the Slough-headquartered company is a major producer of health, hygiene and home products. The firm owns a number of recognisable household products, including condom brand Durex, air-freshener manufacturer AirWick, and medicine purveyors Nurofen and Strepsils.

Speaking when Narasimhan was first announced as Kapoor’s successor, Chris Sinclair, Chairman of Reckitt Benckiser’s board, said, "Laxman has exceptional strategic capabilities and consumer insight with a proven track record in developing purpose-led brands and driving consumer-centric and digital innovation. Laxman's initial priorities will be to focus on delivering outperformance, especially in the Health business unit, and to drive RB2.0.”

Narasimhan holds an MA in German and International Studies from The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked for McKinsey for 19 years, rising to Director and Location Manager for the firm’s New Delhi office in that time. Narasimhan exited the firm in 2012 to join PepsiCo, eventually becoming the food and drinks giant’s Chief Commercial Officer, before being tapped to replace Reckitt Benckiser’s outgoing CEO Rakesh Kapoor – becoming the first executive to come from outside the firm since its inception 20 years ago.

Commenting on his new role, Narasimhan himself said, "It is a special company with a long history of outperformance, creating innovative products and iconic brands which improve the health and lives of people across the globe. I'm looking forward to working with an exceptional group of leaders over the coming years to continue to transform Reckitt Benckiser."