Long-standing boss of Dettol and Durex-owner Reckitt Benckiser to stand down after 32 years at the firm
- Rakesh Kapoor is to retire after 8 years as CEO and 32 years at the company
- He will step down at the end of the year – a search for his successor is underway
- Kapoor said it had been a ‘huge privilege’ to head up the household goods firm
The boss of Reckitt Benckiser, the firm behind household goods including Vanish, Dettol and Durex, is to retire after more than eight years as CEO and 32 years with the company.
Rakesh Kapoor said today that he will stand down by the end of 2019, adding that it had been a ‘huge privilege’ to head Reckitt but the time was right for new leadership.
A search is underway for Kapoor’s successor.
Reckitt boss Rakesh Kapoor (above) said today that he will stand down by the end of 2019
Shares in the FTSE 100 group slipped nearly 3 per cent on the news to 6,067.
It comes after the firm, which also owns Cillit Bang and Nurofen, acquired baby milk maker Mead Johnson in a mammoth $16.6billion deal in 2017.
Kapoor said: ‘The last two years, in particular, have been transformational with the acquisition of Mead Johnson, the catalyst for the creation of our two business units, health and hygiene (and) home.
‘2020 will herald a new decade and I believe now is a good time for new leadership to take this great company through the next phase of outperformance.’
During his lengthy tenure, Kapoor has seen Reckitt’s share price nearly double from £33 to more than £61.
This is Money chart shows the Reckitt Benckiser share price over the last five years
Kapoor joined Reckitt in 1987, becoming senior vice-president of home care in 1999 and working his way up the ranks before being promoted to chief executive in 2011.
In praise of Kapoor, Reckitt chairman Chris Sinclair praised said: ‘Under Rakesh’s leadership, Rekitt Benckiser has been transformed from a household cleaning business to a world leader in consumer health and hygiene.
‘Rakesh has been both the visionary and the architect behind this strategic portfolio transformation since the mid-2000s.’
Reckitt counts Nurofen, Cillit Bang, Durex and Vanish among its brands
The group’s half-year profits rose 9.5 per cent to £1.1billion, but more recently its sales fell by 2 per cent following a £70million hit from problems at its European baby formula factory.
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said the news ‘shouldn’t come as a surprise given how the business has floundered over the past year or two’.
‘So was he pushed out of the job?’ he asked.
‘While the announcement merely says he is retiring, one can only speculate what was discussed behind closed doors. If he is leaving of his own free will then he’s not exactly departing when everything is going well.
‘The acquisition of Mead Johnson in June 2017 was considered by many investors to have been a bad deal with Reckitt paying too much and buying a company not in as good condition as first thought.
‘Growth has been slowing on a group basis with Reckitt battling various issues ranging from cyber-attacks to factory problems,’ he said.
The firm’s shares have come under pressure since summer 2017.