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October 21, 2019

Reckitt Benckiser hires Ahold Delhaize CFO Jeff Carr as finance chief

UK-based consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser has hired a new finance chief as existing CFO Adrian Hennah plans to retire. 

By Dean Best

Jeff Carr is to join UK-based consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser as finance chief from Dutch retailer Ahold Delhaize ahead of existing CFO Adrian Hennah’s retirement. 

Carr will join the owner of Enfamil infant formula on or before 9 April, and will also serve as executive director, according to a statement today (21 October).

Having worked at Ahold Delhaize since 2011, Carr began his career at Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever and has held senior roles at property firm Grand Metropolitan, Associated British Foods, EasyJet airlines and transport company First Group. He has also previously worked at Reckitt Benckiser.

Hennah, meanwhile, will stay on at Reckitt Benckiser beyond April next year to ensure a smooth transition, although he will give up the CFO role when Carr joins. He is set to retire in October next year.

Laxman Narasimhan, who only joined Reckitt Benckiser as CEO during the summer, said: “I am grateful to Adrian for all the support he has provided to me since I joined RB and I would also like to thank him for his leadership and strong commitment to RB over the past seven years. 

“Jeff brings extensive experience across consumer and retail companies and is also an alumnus of RB. Jeff has a record of transformational strategic and operational leadership, consistent performance delivery, strong capital allocation discipline and with building strong teams; all of which lead to long-term shareholder value creation.”

After the 2017 acquisition of Mead Johnson, Reckitt Benckiser announced that it would split its business into two – consumer healthcare, and hygiene and home.

Analysts have speculated Reckitt Benckiser would look to spin or sell the latter division.

Reflecting on today’s announcement of the appointment of Carr, Sanford Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood said: “We have heard some investor concerns that the appointment of both Narasimhan and Carr will lead to a change in the potential decision to split RB. We hope and believe this is not the case.

“We have noted the comments of Narasimhan that he is looking forward to ‘continue to transform RB’ and we would consider that completing the expensive split into two business units is hardly transformational.

“Additionally, in today’s press release, CEO Narasimhan praised Carr for his ‘record of transformational strategic and operational leadership’, suggesting this will be an important quality/skill for his tenure at RB. We continue to expect that, following the completion of the RB 2.0 restructuring programme, RB will sell or spin Hy-Ho in 2020 to become a pure-play consumer health and nutrition company. We hope that this is announced by the new CEO in February. We consider that this should unlock significant value for shareholders.”

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