Reckitt Benckiser boss to hand over reins after eight years

The long-standing boss of Vanish and Dettol owner Reckitt Benckiser is to retire after more than eight years at the helm and 32 years with the company.

Rakesh Kapoor is set to stand down by the end of 2019 and the household goods giant has launched the hunt for his replacement.

Mr Kapoor said it had been a “huge privilege” to head Reckitt, but added the time was right for new leadership.

Reckitt Benckiser stock
Rakesh Kapoor joined Reckitt in 1987 (Reckitt/PA)

It comes after the FTSE 100 listed group, which also owns well-known brands such as Durex and Cillit Bang, snapped up baby milk maker Mead Johnson in a mammoth 18 billion US dollar (£14 billion) deal in 2017.

Mr 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.”

He stressed he would remain “fully focused” on driving the business until a successor is in place.

We announce today our CEO @RakeshKapoor_ to retire at the end of 2019. Watch him in conversation with our Chairman, Chris Sinclair, about the news:

— RB (@discoverRB) January 16, 2019

During his tenure, Mr Kapoor has seen Reckitt’s share price nearly double from £33 to more than £61.

Reckitt chairman Chris Sinclair praised Mr Kapoor’s “vision, passion and leadership”.

He 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.

“He has also developed RB2.0 – an organisation designed for sustainable growth and outperformance.”

Mr 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.

The group saw half-year profits rise 9.5% to £1.1 billion, but recently saw sales fall by 2% in the third quarter after a £70 million hit from problems at its European baby formula factory.