he shock departure of Reckitt Benckiser’s chief executive did not just hit shares in the FTSE 100 company today — it also took the number of CEOs announcing plans to leave their post this year to 17.
Laxman Narasimhan is heading back to his native US after just three years at the Slough-based maker of household-name consumer goods from Clearasil to Calgon. The move blindsided the City and sent Reckitt’s shares down by as much as 6%, putting changes at the top of the UK’s biggest firms into the spotlight.
With some of the changes FTSE 100 not taking effect until next year, the actual turnover of top jobs on the main UK stock index is below the average level seen between 2000 and 2021.
The observation comes from broking firm AJ Bell. Its investment director, Russ Mould, points out that of the 17 announced moves, “seven have already become effective, two more are due before the year end and seven more will take place in 2023,” adding: ”There is no timeline available yet for the appointment of someone to take over from the retiring John Foley at M&G.”
Perhaps the lure of a salary paid in US dollars is more appealing as the pound continues to weaken on global currency markets in the latest FTSE 100 top-level move. “Mr. Narasimhan’s motive for his departure – the prospect of a US-based post – is the same as that cited by Smith & Nephew’s Namal Nawana when he jumped ship after barely a year and a half in 2019,” says Mould.
“By the time of his departure at the end of month, Mr. Narasimhan will have completed just over three years in office, well below the 5.8-year average across the FTSE 100, and he is currently the sixty-seventh longest serving boss in the index.”
Here’s the list of FTSE 100 companies who have changed CEOs so far this year:
- Johnson Matthey — Robert MacLeod replaced by Liam Condon
- Prudential — Mike Wells replaced by Mark FitzPatrick (interim)
- Burberry — Marco Gobbetti replaced by Jonathan Akeroyd
- Smith & Nephew — Roland Diggelmann replaced by Deepak Nath
- Anglo American — Mark Cutifani replaced by Duncan Wanblad
- Taylor Wimpey — Pete Redfern replaced by Jennie Daly
- JD Sports Fashion — Peter Cowgill replaced by Kath Smith (interim)
And those with CEOs on the way out later in 2022:
- Reckitt Benckiser — Laxman Narasimhan will give way to Nicandro Durante (interim)
- JD Sports Fashion — Kath Smith (interim) will step down for permanent replacement Regis Schultz
And those going in 2023:
- Rolls-Royce — Warren East goes and Tufan Erginbilgic joins
- Prudential — Mark FitzPatrick (interim) leaves and Anil Wadhwani takes over
- Rightmove — Peter Brooks-Johnson packs up, no successor named
- Whitbread — Alison Brittain steps down and Dominic Paul steps up
- B&M European Value Retail — Simon Arora goes and Alex Russo comes in
- United Utilities — Steve Mogford goes and Louise Beardmore arrives
- Halma — Andrew Williams heads off and Marc Ronchetti heads in
- M&G — John Foley retires, no successor named