Lambertus J. "Bart" Becht, ’82
Since his appointment as CEO of Reckitt Benckiser (RB) in 1999, Bart Becht has tripled net revenues and increased net profits eight times, resulting in a total shareholder return during the 11-year period of well over 500 percent. RB is a global leader in fast-moving household, health, and personal care goods, selling such well-known brands as Lysol, Airwick, Finish, Mucinex, Clearasil, and more.
A Dutch native with a BA in economics from the University of Groningen, Becht earned his MBA from Chicago Booth in 1982. After his appointment as CEO of the privately held Benckiser Household Products Division in 1995, he took the business public via an IPO in 1997. Two years later he merged the company with Reckitt & Coleman and became the CEO of the combined entity.
He attributes the success of RB to a clear strategy focused on driving household penetration of its "power brands" and a corporate culture that fosters entrepreneurship, action, and performance. He credits much of his personal success to his analytical and conceptual thinking skills, which were honed during his Chicago Booth education, as well as his drive to bring out the best performance in his high-quality management team. While he will retire this fall, he will remain active in business and also devote more time to his charitable trust, which supports humanitarian causes including Save the Children.