Now Reckitt Benckiser carves up emerging markets into ‘Lapac’ and ‘Rumea’

As one of many changes under new CEO Rakesh Kapoor (pictured) who’s also shifting control of the more mature European and North American businesses to a new HQ in Amsterdam, cutting back on traditional advertising in favour of digital and social and redefining the whole company as ‘health, hygiene and home.’

Kapoor, who succeeded long-serving £90m a year CEO Bart Becht last year, is clearly not of the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ school of management. But back to Lapac and Rumea.

Lapac stands for Latin America and Asia (not sure where the ‘p’ comes from) and Rumea for Russia, the Middle East and Africa, which probably won’t go down very well with Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin and his chums who might see it as insulting.

But Kapoor is determined to drive emerging market sales up to nearly half of the total over the next few years so if he needs to carve up the world into strange-sounding bits so be it.

This news will have them thinking, maybe scratching their heads, at Unilever and Procter & Gamble. It will also be exercising the fertile mind of Havas CEO David Jones who is also head of Euro RSCG, Reckitt’s main global agency.

Amsterdam, the new home of the European and North American business, has emerged in recent years as a creative capital of advertising, challenging London’s pre-eminence in Europe with considerable success. It’s also plays host to Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, recently named by the Gunn Report as the most creative agency in the world and one which handles giant international accounts like Heineken and Nike with some aplomb.

W+K Portland is very much flavour of the month with Reckitt rival P&G in the US at the moment, thanks largely to its celebrated Old Spice work. So maybe W+K won’t be having cosy chats with Reckitt executives in Amsterdam. But Jones will certainly be boosting his own Amsterdam operation (“Look at all these digital people – and here’s another one!”) as will his agency rivals.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.