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The Man Behind Powerful Brands- Rakesh Kapoor

Rakesh Kapoor
Since 1987, Rakesh Kapoor has worked with Reckitt & Colman in several capacities, including Regional Sales Manager for North India, General Manager for the Indian Southern Region, and Regional Marketing Director for South Asia. Rakesh has been with RB for over 25 years, during which time the company has moved its focus from domestic cleaning to health and hygiene. On September 1, 2011, Kapoor succeeded Baronet Becht as CEO, a post he had held since the company was founded in 1999 by the merger of Benckiser and Reckitt & Colman.

Rakesh Kapoor is an Indian businessman born on August 4, 1958. He was the CEO of Reckitt Benckiser PLC (RB), a UK FTSE-listed global consumer goods corporation and significant health, hygiene, and home product maker, until September 2019. Kapoor received his education at the Modern School in New Delhi, India. Kapoor holds a BE (Hons) in Chemical Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) in Pilani and an MBA from the erstwhile XLRI- Xavier School of Management in Jamshedpur, India.

Rakesh, regarded as friendly, focused and very down to earth, was born and spent half of his professional life in India and witnessed firsthand how bad health has a significant social and economic impact on people. He deeply cares about people living healthier lives and having happier families. He is married with two children, a skilled bridge player, and an avid football and cricket fan. He resides in the English county of Buckinghamshire.

Rakesh Kapoor, 52, had been in the United Kingdom since 1997 and was relatively unknown in Indian business circles when he was appointed as the CEO of RB.

However, as Vindi Banga, a former global president of Unilever in the United Kingdom, commented, “Indian leaders are more versatile and nimble-footed. Anyone who has worked in India must have faced over half-a-dozen challenges every day while competition is the only challenge in most global markets.”


Rakesh Kapoor has worked with Reckitt & Colman since 1987, holding positions such as Regional Sales Manager for North India, General Manager for the Indian Southern Region, and Regional Marketing Director for South Asia. He was named Global Category Director, Pest Control, in 1999. He was promoted to Senior Vice President, HomeCare, after the merger. In 2001, he was elevated to SVP, Regional Director, Northern Europe, and then to EVP, Category Development, in July 2006. Rakesh took over as CEO in September 2011.

Rakesh Kapoor was the CEO of Reckitt Benckiser (RB), a £10 billion global leader in consumer health and hygiene with power brands like Dettol, Nurofen, Durex, Vanish, and Strepsils. Rakesh has been with RB for over 25 years, during which time the company's focus has shifted from household cleaning to health and hygiene. RB is motivated by a desire to help people live healthier lives and have better homes. and shape how they make a difference through the power of technology and digital innovation.

On September 1, 2011, Kapoor took over as CEO from Baronet Becht, who had held the position since the firm was formed in 1999 through the amalgamation of Benckiser and Reckitt & Colman. Reckitt Benckiser finally revealed in October 2012, after conversations with the Financial Services Authority, that Kapoor had acquired a loan against £7.4 million in company shares in 2010. The topic of CEO disclosures gained traction in 2008 when Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross was forced to quit after it was revealed that he had used £201 million in shares as security without disclosing it. According to The Daily Telegraph, "A spokesman for the company said the failure to disclose the loans to the market was not the fault of Mr Kapoor who had told the company of the situation."

Over 40% of Reckitt Benckiser shareholders refused to support the company's remuneration report in March 2014, following similar investor backlash protest demonstrations over compensation for top management at Pearson, Barclays Bank, and WPP, all of which are also listed on The Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index — a share index of the 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalisation.

Change in leadership style

In an interview with Business Today, Sharma stated that the CEO used to be regarded as the company's God. He was the one who knew everything and made all the decisions. It was a 'command-and-control leadership' style. That model is no longer valid. The future model includes leaders with a strong sense of purpose and an understanding of the ideals they wish to see in their organisations. These ideals must be embodied and lived by the CEO. People come to work for a paycheck, but they also come to feel accomplished, as if they have a greater mission to accomplish. It is the CEO's responsibility to give the organisation a larger purpose.

Reckitt Benckiser under Kapoor

One of Kapoor's most prominent initiatives as CEO was the $16.6 billion purchase of Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. in 2017. Reckitt Benckiser's foothold in the consumer health market was boosted by the acquisition, including brands including Enfamil instant formula and Nutramigen children's milk. In the same year, Reckitt Benckiser split the company into two divisions, RB Health and RB Hygiene Home, after selling its food business to McCormick & Co. Inc. for $4.2 billion. The MegaRed wellness brand and K-Y Jelly were also acquired during Kapoor's leadership.

Since Kapoor took over as CEO in 2011, Reckitt Benckiser has achieved a total shareholder return of 130 per cent, or a CAGR of 12 per cent, "circa double of FTSE 100 and ahead of most peers in consumer, health and nutrition." according to the business. Reckitt Benckiser chairman Chris Sinclair issued a statement, “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 organisation designed for sustainable growth and outperformance.”

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