Shares in Reckitt Benckiser tumbled by more than 6% in early trading today following the news that chief executive Bart Becht is to step down after 16 years at the helm.

He will be succeeded on 1 September by Rakesh Kapoor (pictured), currently executive vice president of global category development.

Kapoor joined the Vanish and Cillit Bang maker in 1987 and is a former head of Reckitt’s UK & Northern Europe arm.

“The board was unanimous in its choice of Rakesh as he has the necessary drive, strategic thinking and operational experience – coupled with a more than intimate understanding of RB's financial performance and earnings model,” said chairman Adrian Bellamy.

“He is supported by an excellent team of senior executives.”

Becht – who was the highest paid boss of a FTSE 100 company in 2009, raking in more than £90m – said now was “the right time to retire”.

“We have the strongest senior management cadre we have ever had, our new CFO [has bedded-in excellently and our SSL integration is on track and by September will be all but completed.”

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