Laxman Narasimhan & Colin Mayer in Conversation: 'The role of business in reviving left behind places'

Past Event

09 November 2021, 5:00pm - 6:30pm

Online & Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Event Recording:

Business is key to a successful programme of regeneration of left behind places.

In many cases it has been the collapse and exit of major industries such as coal, steel and manufacturing that have been the cause of their decline. Bringing back some of the large companies that have their roots in these localities is a key part of revival. But so too is promoting entrepreneurship and the start-up of new businesses that grow and thrive.

In this talk, Laxman Narasimhan, CEO, Reckitt, brings his experience from around the world in leading some of the most successful and important companies in the UK and US to address what it takes to promote the re-emergence of thriving businesses in some of the most depressed regions of a country.

Narasimhan Laxman

Laxman Narasimhan
CEO, Reckitt

Laxman became CEO of Reckitt, a FTSE 15 company, in September 2019. As a global leader in Health, Hygiene and Nutrition, Reckitt’s brands are found in more than 190 countries. It has annual revenues over £13BN and employs 42,000 colleagues globally.

20 million times a day Reckitt’s brands are selected by consumers, who rely on the company’s 200-year strong heritage. This stable of trusted global brands includes: Enfamil, Nutramigen, Nurofen, Strepsils, Gaviscon, Mucinex, Durex, Clearasil, Lysol, Dettol, Veet, Harpic, Cillit Bang, Mortein, Finish, Vanish, Calgon, Woolite, Air Wick and more.

Under Laxman’s leadership, Reckitt’s purpose is to protect, heal and nurture in a relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world. Reckitt fights to make access to the highest-quality hygiene, wellness and nourishment a right, not a privilege, for everyone.

Laxman is a member of the UK Government’s private sector advisory group, the Build Back Better Council, which is chaired by the Prime Minister and Chancellor and advises on innovation, skills and infrastructure.

Prior to joining the company, Laxman held various roles at PepsiCo from 2012 to 2019. He was previously Global Chief Commercial Officer, with responsibility for R&D, categories, e-commerce, design, go-to-market, global customers and strategy.

Before this, Laxman served as the Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo’s Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa operations, where he ran the company's food and beverage businesses across over 100 countries. He also spent time as CEO of PepsiCo Latin America and as the CFO of PepsiCo Americas Foods, which was responsible for half of the company’s profits.

Prior to PepsiCo, Laxman served as a Director for McKinsey & Company and held various key global roles from 1993 to 2012. He is a Trustee of the Brookings Institution and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Colin Meyer

Professor Colin Mayer
Lead Researcher, Oxford Martin Initiative on Regional Levelling-up

Colin Mayer is a Professor of Management Studies at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the European Corporate Governance Institute, a Professorial Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford and an Honorary Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford and St Anne’s College, Oxford.

He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Oxford Playhouse, and he was a member of the UK Government Natural Capital Committee, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal and the International Advisory Board of the Securities and Exchange Board of India. He was chairman of Oxera Ltd. between 1986 and 2010 and a director of the energy modelling company, Aurora Energy Research Ltd between 2013 and 2020. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours. He leads the British Academy enquiry into “the Future of the Corporation” and his most recent book Prosperity: Better Business Makes the Greater Good is published by Oxford University Press.