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Reckitt Benckiser CEO Rakesh Kapoor to retire

U.K.-based consumer goods manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC said Jan. 16 that CEO Rakesh Kapoor will retire by the end of 2019.

Kapoor has spent 32 years at the maker of Nurofen painkillers and Durex condoms in a variety of roles. He was promoted to CEO in September 2011, taking over from Bart Becht.

One of Kapoor's most notable actions as CEO was the 2017 acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., a $16.6 billion deal. The purchase increased Reckitt Benckiser's presence in the consumer health segment, bringing brands such as Enfamil instant formula and Nutramigen children's milk into its portfolio.

In the same year, Reckitt Benckiser sold its food business to McCormick & Co. Inc. for $4.2 billion and reorganized the company into two divisions, RB Health and RB Hygiene Home, reflecting its shift in strategy.

Other acquisitions during Kapoor's tenure include the MegaRed wellness brand and K-Y Jelly.

Reckitt Benckiser said that since Kapoor became CEO in 2011, the company has delivered total shareholder return of 130%, equating to a CAGR of 12%, "circa double of FTSE 100 and ahead of most peers in consumer, health and nutrition."

"Under Rakesh's leadership, RB 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 organization designed for sustainable growth and outperformance," said Chris Sinclair, chairman of Reckitt Benckiser, in a statement.

"It has been a huge privilege to lead RB and I am very proud of the hard work and commitment of our people in delivering our success and many achievements. 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, 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," said Kapoor.

In its most recent sales figures for the three months ended Sept. 30, 2018, Reckitt Benckiser reported a 2% year-over-year increase in revenue that missed analysts expectations, partly due temporary disruption at an infant formula factory. The company is scheduled to report full-year 2018 earnings Feb. 18.

Reckitt Benckiser's board of directors said it has initiated the process of appointing Kapoor's successor and will consider both internal and external candidates.

Reckitt Benckiser shares were down 2.7% at 6,084 pence in morning trading.