Starbucks Shuffles Executive Ranks

Staff Writer
Company names three presidents for domestic and overseas markets, taps new leaders for Seattle’s Best, Tazo Tea

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Getting ready to punch the accelerator on global growth, Starbucks Corp. on Monday said it has realigned its executive team with a new regional structure, including overseas markets, that will take effect by the end of September.

For each region, a president will oversee company-related retail operations, working with licensed and joint-venture partners in each market, as well as the consumer products and foodservice team to build out brands and channels, the company said. Presidents of each region will report directly to Schultz.

“Our company performance over the past two years has positioned Starbucks for the significant international opportunities ahead and the acceleration of our global growth strategy,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks chair, president and chief executive, said in a statement. “Today we are successfully executing our multi-brand, multi-channel strategy and we believe the leadership and organizational moves announced today will optimize our speed and focus going forward.”

Currently Starbucks’ retail business is structured under two regional entities – domestic and international, the latter including 54 markets. Under the new plan, Starbucks will shift to a three-region structure, including China and Asia Pacific; the Americas, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Latin America; and Europe, including the U.K., the Middle East, Russian and Africa, or EMEA.

The America’s region, which will continue to be the cornerstone of Starbucks’ growth, will be led by Cliff Burrows, who is currently president of Starbucks U.S.

Domestic business has set records across almost every measure of sales and customer experience under Burrows, the company said, which is “especially noteworthy for a business in its 40th year.”

For the China and Asia Pacific region, which includes China, Japan and India, John Culver has been named president.

Culver has been president of Starbucks International for two years, setting the foundation for its overseas growth, the company said.

The EMEA region will be headed by Michelle Gass as president, a 15-year Starbucks veteran who currently serves as president of Seattle’s Best Coffee, a subsidiary brand.

Gass will provide leadership to company-operated markets in the U.K., France and Germany, as well as developing licensed and joint-venture partners elsewhere in Europe, and in Russia, and the Middle East.

The company is also making changes among its subsidiary brands.

Seattle’s Best Coffee, which Starbucks officials see as becoming a $1 billion business over time, will continue to operate as a separate business unit. Jeff Hansberry will serve as president in addition to his current role as Global Consumer Products and Foodservice.

Tea is also a category the company plans to build, saying the beverage represents an $87 billion global market opportunity. After acquiring Tazo Tea in 1999, Starbucks intends to build the tea line into a global multi-billion-dollar brand.

Annie Young-Scrivner has been named president of Tazo Tea in addition to her role as global chief marketing officer.

At the end of the second quarter, Seattle-based Starbucks had 16,863 units worldwide, of which 10,930 were in the United States.

— Lisa Jennings

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