Reckitt said it had now launched a process to appoint a successor and will consider both internal and external candidates.
Mr Kapoor said: “It has been a huge privilege to lead Reckitt Benckiser and I am very proud of the hard work and commitment of our people in delivering our success and many achievements.
“The last two years, in particular, have been transformational with the acquisition of Mead Johnson, the catalyst for the creation of our two business units, Health and Hygiene, Home.
“2020 will herald a new decade and I believe now is a good time for new leadership to take this great company through the next phase of outperformance.
“I will remain fully focused on driving the business until a successor is in place.”
Chris Sinclair, chairman of Reckitt, said: “Under Rakesh’s leadership, Rekitt Benckiser has been transformed from a household cleaning business to a world leader in consumer health and hygiene.
“Rakesh has been both the visionary and the architect behind this strategic portfolio transformation since the mid-2000s.
“He has also developed RB2.0 - an organisation designed for sustainable growth and outperformance.
“On behalf of the board, I want to express our appreciation for his vision, passion and leadership over his long and distinguished tenure.”