Reckitt Benckiser, the company behind popular brands like Durex, Lysol, and Nurofen, has announced that Kris Licht will be taking over as CEO designate from Nicandro Durante by the end of the year. Licht has been with Reckitt since 2017 and has played a critical role in the transformation and turnaround of the company’s Health GBU over the last three years. He currently serves as the President of the company’s health business and as the Chief Customer Officer.
Licht’s appointment to the board as an executive director will take place on June 1. Durante, who was formerly the CEO of British American Tobacco, praised Licht’s leadership abilities and stated that he was the ideal candidate to lead Reckitt on its journey forward.
The board took eight months to make the decision, but Durante believes that it was a well-informed choice. He will remain with the company until December to ensure a smooth transition.
Investors have welcomed the decision, with Neil Denman from Reckitt investor Sarasin & Partners saying that he likes the continuity of an internal appointment. He believes that an external CEO would come in and try to change things, whereas Licht will be able to build on the work that has already been done.
Reckitt has also reported strong Q1 results, with like-for-like net revenue up 7.9%, beating analyst expectations. The company now expects like-for-like net revenue growth of 3-5% for the year, helped by price increases that have been implemented across the consumer goods industry to make up for rising raw material prices, supply chain and energy costs that began with the pandemic and were exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
While some manufacturers’ price increases have prompted shoppers to shift away from big brands towards retailers’ cheaper own-label products, Reckitt has managed to beat sales expectations for several quarters in a row. Despite concerns from investors about the impact on sales volumes and margins if prices continue to rise, the company remains optimistic about its future prospects.