Reckitt Benckiser picks Indian boss in shock shake-up

LONDON, April 14, 2011 (AFP) – Reckitt Benckiser, the Anglo-Dutch household products and drugs group, on Thursday chose senior employee and Indian national Rakesh Kapoor to replace chief executive Bart Becht, who surprisingly retired. Reckitt’s share price slumped more than 7.0 percent in London on the unexpected announcements by the company whose major brands include household cleaner Cillit Bang, Durex condoms and Nureflex/Nurofen pain relief tablets.

Kapoor will take over on September 1, while Becht is to remain as part time adviser to his successor and the board until September 2012 “to ensure a smooth transition,” Reckitt said in a statement.

“After 16 years in the role, I believe now is the right time to retire,” said Dutch national Becht, who at 54 is two years older than Kapoor.

Becht has led the group since its formation from the 1999 merger of Britain’s Reckitt & Colman and Dutch group Benckiser, which he previously headed. He hit the headlines in 2009 after earning more than £90 million in stock options.

Kapoor expressed delight at his promotion and said he was looking forward “to leading the business to its next stage of growth and performance, supported by an excellent senior management team.”