Chief Executive of Reckitt Benckiser, Laxman Narasimhan, is to step down at the end of September, 2022 after three years of service as CEO, the company said on Thursday. According to a Reuters report, this announcement has took investors by surprise and is sending its share price down sharply.
Senior independent director and former BAT boss Nicandro Durante will replace Narasimhan temporarily, while the board "evaluates and selects the future leadership", Reckitt said in a statement.
Tineke Frikee who is a fund manager at Reckitt shareholder Waverton Investment Management said, "It was a surprise to find out Reckitt's CEO is stepping down, having only been in the role for three years and just starting to receive some credibility."
The company told Reuters that Chairman Chris Sinclair along with the nomination committee have started the process to identify "the best long-term candidate to take Reckitt on its next phase of growth."
Shares of Reckitt Benckiser, the maker of Durex condoms and Dettol cleaning products tumbled more than 4% on the news. As the report states, JP Morgan analysts cited Laxman Narasimhan's sudden departure just when investor confidence in the group's turnaround was improving.
Narasimhan joined the company in September 2019 from PepsiCo and was the first external candidate to takeover the role at Reckitt since 1999. "It's disappointing to someone who has followed the stock for a long time," said Ashish Sinha, portfolio manager, Reckitt shareholder Gabelli.
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