Reckitt chief Bart Becht to step down

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The Independent Online

One of Britain's highest paid bosses announced today that he is stepping down after 16 years as chief executive of household goods giant Reckitt Benckiser.

Bart Becht - who hit the headlines when it emerged he received a record-breaking £90 million in pay and share awards in 2009 - is to hand over the reins to Reckitt veteran Rakesh Kapoor in September.

Mr Becht will stay on as a part-time adviser for a year at the Cillit Bang-to-Dettol group, but Reckitt shares fell 8% as the news took the City by surprise.

Mr Becht, 54, has led the group since it was formed from the 1999 merger of Britain's Reckitt & Colman and Dutch group Benckiser, which he previously headed.

He broke all records for executive pay when shares and options awarded after the company was created by the merger were realised in 2009, although he transferred nearly all of the stock options, worth around £110 million, to charity.

The Dutchman was awarded a far smaller pay package last year, but he still took home more than £18 million after long-term performance deals cashed in on top of his £4.2 million in pay, benefits and bonus.

His successor will enjoy a similar pay structure; however, Mr Kapoor's basic salary is expected to be less than Mr Becht's £1.03 million a year.

A spokesman confirmed that Mr Becht will be paid a pro rata amount of his current salary for his part-time advisory work from September 1.

FTSE 100 firm Reckitt is one of the world's biggest household goods firms, with around 27,000 employees and operations in 60 countries.

Mr Becht said: "After 16 years in the role, I believe now is the right time to retire. We have the strongest senior management cadre we have ever had."

He added that Mr Kapoor had an "outstanding track record of performance".

Mr Kapoor's career with Reckitt Benckiser dates back to 1987, when he joined Reckitt & Colman as a regional sales manager in India.

He worked in various roles across India and Asia before heading up the firm's marketing efforts, based in the UK.

Mr Kapoor, 52, was appointed global head of home care after the merger in 1999 and was later promoted to vice-president of global category development and a member of the executive committee.

He was involved in the recent £2.5 billion takeover of Scholl and Durex firm SSL International, according to the group.