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Laxman Narasimhan: Brewing Leadership at Starbucks






















Laxman Narasimhan, an Indian-American business executive, currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks. His diverse background and extensive experience bring a unique blend of cultural insight, strategic decision-making, and a strong commitment to excellence to the global coffee company. Under Narasimhan's leadership, Starbucks transcends mere business operations to become a catalyst for positive change, delivering value to all stakeholders. As he continues to innovate and push boundaries, Narasimhan's legacy as a transformative leader driving change will leave an enduring impact on Starbucks and the corporate landscape for years to come.


“As a business that is anchored in human connection, the opportunities that we have are limitless. But in order for us to get limitless, we need to confront what limits us.”  -Laxman Narasimhan,  Starbucks CEO 


NAME

LAXMAN NARASIMHAN

Born

May 15, 1967

Education

MBA Finance, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Position

Chief Executive Officer,  Starbucks

Net worth

$23 million (2023)


Laxman Narasimhan - Personal Life

Laxman Narasimhan, born on May 15, 1967, originally hails from India. His path to success was paved by a solid educational foundation. With a global upbringing that included living in various regions such as the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, Narasimhan has garnered extensive international experience. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering, University of Pune, India, as well as 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 of The University of Pennsylvania. Fluent in six languages, Narasimhan is a dedicated family man, married with two children. His preferred Starbucks beverage is a doppio espresso macchiato, accompanied by hot skim milk on the side.


Laxman Narasimhan - Early Life

In the early stages of his career, Laxman Narasimhan navigated the complexities of the consumer goods industry, honing his skills in marketing, brand management, and business growth through key roles at PepsiCo and McKinsey & Company. These formative years highlighted Narasimhan's innate ability to drive expansion and create value, laying the groundwork for his ascent to top corporate positions.

As CEO of Reckitt Benckiser Group, a global leader in health, hygiene, and nutrition, Narasimhan demonstrated visionary leadership through transformative initiatives and strategic acquisitions that propelled the company to new heights of success. His tenure at Reckitt Benckiser was marked by a dedication to innovation, sustainability, and meeting evolving consumer needs.

Before joining Starbucks, Narasimhan served as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at PepsiCo and later became CEO of Reckitt. He assumed the role of interim CEO at Starbucks in October 2022, officially taking over as CEO in April 2023, succeeding Howard Schultz.

Narasimhan spent 19 years at McKinsey until 2012, rising to the position of director and location manager of their New Delhi office. He then transitioned to PepsiCo in 2012, ultimately ascending to the role of Chief Commercial Officer.


Laxman Narasimhan - Career

As the leader of Starbucks, Laxman Narasimhan faces the significant challenge of navigating the renowned coffee chain through a dynamic and evolving landscape shaped by shifting consumer preferences, technological advancements, and global events. However, armed with his unparalleled expertise and steadfast determination, Narasimhan is poised to guide Starbucks into a new era of growth and innovation, reinforcing its reputation as a cherished brand synonymous with quality, community, and social responsibility. Under his stewardship, Starbucks goes beyond coffee sales to drive positive change, leveraging its influence to make a meaningful impact on a global scale. From championing sustainability initiatives to promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization, Narasimhan remains committed to shaping a brighter future for Starbucks and the communities it serves. His forward-looking leadership and dedication inspire confidence and purpose among Starbucks employees, partners, and customers.

Before assuming the CEO role, Narasimhan completed six months of barista training at various Starbucks locations worldwide, including London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, and Mexico City, to gain firsthand insights and identify areas for improvement. His approach to Starbucks unionization has been noted for its openness compared to that of Schultz, as reported by The New York Times.

Drawing on his extensive experience at companies like PepsiCo and Reckitt, Narasimhan has successfully motivated talent to pursue forward-thinking goals by prioritizing consumer-focused and digital innovations. During his tenure at Reckitt, he revitalized the company's culture to better align with its mission of promoting a cleaner, healthier world. He spearheaded initiatives to advance global health and hygiene practices while enhancing operational sustainability.

At PepsiCo, Narasimhan held various leadership roles, including Global Chief Commercial Officer, overseeing long-term growth strategies and commercial capabilities. He also served as CEO of PepsiCo's Latin America, Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa divisions, overseeing food and beverage operations across expansive regions. Additionally, he held positions such as CEO of PepsiCo Latin America and CFO of PepsiCo Americas Foods.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Narasimhan spent nearly two decades at McKinsey & Company, advising retail, healthcare, and consumer goods companies worldwide and leading research on the future of retail.

Outside of his corporate roles, Narasimhan is actively engaged in several organizations, serving as a trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former member of the UK Prime Minister's Build Back Better Council, and a board member at Verizon.


Laxman Narasimhan - Starbucks

Narasimhan unveiled Starbucks' "Triple Shot Reinvention Strategy," outlining ambitions to expand to 35,000 locations beyond North America by 2030, with a target of reaching 55,000 locations. The strategy incorporates a $3 billion cost-saving program and proposes wage increases for baristas, with the goal of doubling their hourly earnings by the conclusion of fiscal 2025. This boost will be achieved through both increased working hours and higher pay rates compared to their earnings in fiscal 2020.


Laxman Narasimhan - Controversies

During Narasimhan's tenure at Reckitt Benckiser, a troubling incident arose involving the company's subsidiary, Oxy Reckitt Benckiser. Following the tragic deaths of several pregnant women due to lung issues, an investigation revealed that a harmful antibacterial substance in a humidifier cleanser was to blame. In response, Narasimhan met with a British survivor committee and personally apologized to the South Korean independent commission investigating the case.

Furthermore, Narasimhan faced criticism for his unexpected resignation from Reckitt Benckiser in 2022, which caught investors off guard. His departure occurred amid the implementation of a turnaround plan he had initiated in 2019.


FAQs


Who is Laxman Narasimhan?

Laxman Narasimhan is an Indian-American business leader serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks.


What is the net worth of Laxman Narasimhan?

In 2023, the estimated net worth of Laxman Narasimhan, CEO of Starbucks, was $23 million.


Is TATA the owner of Starbucks?


TATA Starbucks Private Limited, formerly known as Tata Starbucks Limited, is a joint venture equally owned by Tata Global Beverages and Starbucks Corporation. This entity operates and oversees Starbucks stores throughout India.

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