Indian-born Wharton MBA to lead one of the world’s iconic brands

Lakshman Narasimhan

Laxman Narasimhan will become the next CEO of Starbucks on October 1, 2022.

It’s a job Lakshman Narasimhan, who grew up in Pune, India, could never have imagined himself. to become the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of

His journey to the top of a global icon began humblely, most notably with an MBA. Narasimhan, now 55, said he had to sell his belongings and borrow money in the early 1990s to arrange a visa to the United States and study at the Wharton School of Business. When he was in school in Germany, he only had money for one meal a day and lost 10 pounds in the process.

Like Madras-born Indra Nooyi and Hyderabad-born Satya Nadella, Narasimhan has climbed his way to the top of the corporate world and taken an important step on that ladder. That is to ban her MBA from elite business schools in the United States. With a degree in business from the Yale School of Business, her Nooyi paved the way by becoming CEO of PepsiCo. Nadella, who earned her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth’s School of Business, rose to the top of Microsoft as chairman and CEO.

“I think India is resilient and flexible.”

He recognizes the pioneering Indian-born CEOs. In a recent interview with CNBC-TV18, he said, “You have to recognize some of these pioneers who broke through the grass.” We have found a way, these are the real giants that we have on our shoulders India has the resilience to realize that things may not be perfect but solutions must be found And I think you have built in flexibility and flexibility in you.India offers flexibility and agility and when you combine that with the array of opportunities that the US and Europe offer you are going to see real success for these people will be.”

By all accounts, Narasimhan is humble and likable. According to his friends, he is known as “a fun guy who cracks jokes easily, follows everything from rock to Carnatic music, and says he wants to read non-business books.” A native of Bombay, he and his wife have lived in his 24 homes over their 29 years of marriage. He now leads a company with approximately 35,000 stores and his 383,000 employees worldwide.

“At heart, he is still humble, warm and friendly,” said school friend and classmate Nitin Joshi. The Times of IndiaHis old classmates keep in touch through Loyola High School’s 1982 batch WhatsApp group. Joshi says that despite Narasimhan’s busy work life, he is always posting pictures and posting updates about his life.

“He’s a big guy, but he’s just a normal person.”

“He’s a business tycoon, but he’s just a normal guy doing normal things with us,” Joshi added. “He goes to music concerts a lot and posts about them. A few days ago he posted a photo with his mother and wife.He is always active in the group.A few days ago he sent a message that he wouldn’t post anything for a while.This morning we saw this amazing The news woke me up and the group was flooded with congratulatory messages.”

Higher education has become an important step on the ladder of success for Narasimhan. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pune, India. Lauder graduated from the Institute with an MA in German Language and International Studies and received his MBA from the Wharton School in 1993.

The skills I learned in these programs led me to join McKinsey & Company, recruited from the Wharton School. Narasimhan spent the next 19 years at a global consulting firm, becoming his senior partner and eventually her manager at the firm’s New Delhi office location. He led the company’s thinking on the future of retail, focusing on McKinsey’s consumer, retail and technology practices in the United States, Asia and India. It was out of that consulting and leadership role that he was hired by PepsiCo in his 2012. It had been six years, or halfway, since Indra Nooyi had found success as CEO of the company.

“Pepsi gave me the opportunity to learn how to be a CEO”

During his seven years at the company, he gained experience that made him a CEO candidate. At PepsiCo, Global Chief Commercial reporting directly to Nooyi’s successor, PepsiCo’s then-Chairman and CEO, he was promoted to the position of Officer. He was responsible for developing PepsiCo’s integrated long-term growth strategy and leading the development of its commercial and marketing capabilities. It was a broad portfolio of duties. Narasimhan oversaw the company’s global categories He Group, Insights, Merchandising, Design, Global R&D, E-Commerce, and Strategy.

But it didn’t last long. Within six months, he was pulled from that new role in September 2019 to become CEO of Reckitt Benckiser, a British conglomerate that makes Lysol disinfectants and Durex his condoms. Looking back on his experience at PepsiCo, Narasimhan believes it prepared him for the CEO position at Reckitt. “I worked for Pepsi for his seven years and that experience gave me the opportunity to learn how to be CEO. , because I was in charge of Africa,” he told McKinsey. interview. “I learned how to meet people, set direction, and deliver performances.”

Reckitt was struggling with sluggish sales and the ill-fated $16.6 billion acquisition of baby products maker Mead Johnson, leaving the company mostly bankrupt. Additionally, Narasimhan had to move from his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, to London for a new job months before the novel coronavirus pandemic turned everyone’s lives upside down. By the end of January 2020, the UK’s first two of her patients had tested positive for her Covid, and the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency.Narasimhan has found himself sequestered in a temporary furnished two-bedroom apartment in London with his 80-year-old mother while his wife and two children remain in the United States.

Dinner every night with my 80 year old mother in London

Narasimhan recalls: I am very careful about her COVID-19 exposure because her 80 year old mother lives in a small apartment. Every day she appreciates having the opportunity to dine with her, but some days are tough. She might choose to come in while I’m on a board call and she’ll say, ‘She has to take out the trash. I remember being on a conference call with an investor and she had a perspective that she was choosing to express at that moment. ”

He was a CEO but had to deal with basic necessities during the pandemic. I remember that I didn’t. At the door of his apartment during the company’s annual meeting was a delivery man from Tesco, a supermarket chain. “I walked off the screen and rushed to open the door. I said, ‘Drop it anywhere,’ and went back to AGM. It’s very human,” he recalled in his interview with CNBC. rice field.

The management of the company that overcame that crisis shaped him. “You become much more introspective,” he told McKinsey. “This period helped me understand what was going on in the lives of the people who worked for me.” There’s something that opens the camera, I do these ‘zooms in’ with young talent and turn the camera around so they’re sitting in my living room. they like it Thus, I have been to the homes of people in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Brazil, and elsewhere I have never met in person, and have been guided through their homes and introduced to their families. It was helpful to understand what they were going through. ”

“First and foremost, he is a true servant leader.”

Although he only held top positions at Reckitt for three years, he has been widely praised for putting the company on a stronger footing. He spent little time cutting costs and selling underperforming divisions, and also invested wisely in the company’s supply chain and product research. As a result, Reckitt posted his fourth consecutive quarter of better-than-expected organic earnings and raised his earnings guidance for the year in July.

Now he tries Starbucks. In an interview with The New York Times, Schultz said, “We were looking for someone who was a true servant leader and had a deep sense of humility.” I am the leader.”

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