Starbucks Announces Management Changes

July 22, 2014

Building on its global momentum, Starbucks Coffee Co. announced a new corporate structure to accelerate its growth strategy, which will take effect by the end of September.

“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,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Starbucks Coffee Co. in a prepared 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.”

Starbucks retail business is currently structured as Starbucks U.S. and Starbucks Coffee International (SCI), which encompasses 54 markets outside the U.S. Starbucks will move to a new three-region organizational structure:

  • China and Asia Pacific: All Asia Pacific markets and China;
  • Americas: United States, Canada, Mexico and Latin America;
  • Europe, U.K., Middle East, Russia and Africa.

A president for each region will oversee the company-operated retail business, working closely with both the licensed and joint-venture business partners in each market. They will also work closely with Starbucks global consumer products and foodservice team to continue building out Starbucks brands and channels in each region.

Culver has been named president, Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. Culver’s focus and accountability will center on Starbucks retail business in Asia Pacific, including China, Japan and Starbucks newest market entry – India. China, Japan and India are important areas of growth for the company and Culver brings the extensive global experience navigating complex operating environments to drive even greater business results in this region. As president of SCI over the past two years, Culver and his team have delivered strong international growth and set the foundation for the company’s international business and growth opportunities ahead.

Cliff Burrows will expand his current role as president, Starbucks U.S. to president, Americas, with responsibility for the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Latin America. Under Burrows’ leadership, the U.S. business continues to set records across almost every measure of sales and customer experience – achieving performance levels that are especially noteworthy for a business in its 40th year. The Americas region, particularly the U.S., Canada and Brazil, will continue to be a cornerstone of Starbucks growth.

Michelle Gass has been named president, Starbucks EMEA. In this role, Gass will provide overall leadership to Starbucks company-operated markets in this region: the U.K., France, and Germany. She will also be responsible for growing and developing Starbucks joint venture and licensed operations in Europe, Russia and the Middle East. During her nearly 15 years with Starbucks, Gass has served in a variety of leadership roles, including global strategy, marketing and category management. Currently, she serves as president, Seattle’s Best Coffee, a Starbucks subsidiary, where she has led significant growth – from 3,000 to 50,000 points of distribution – through new and innovative business and brand strategies.

Starbucks is creating a multi-brand, multi-channel future by building a portfolio of branded business units beyond the Starbucks retail brand.

Seattle’s Best Coffee (SBC) will continue to be an important growth opportunity, with a goal of becoming a $1 billion business over time through expanded and innovative distribution channels, partnerships, licensing, franchising, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) initiatives. SBC will continue to operate as an independent business unit under the leadership of Jeff Hansberry, who will serve as SBC’s president in addition to his current role as president, global consumer products and foodservice. This structure will leverage the synergies between the CPG businesses within the Starbucks and SBC brands.

The tea category is another significant opportunity for Starbucks. In 1999, Starbucks acquired Tazo Tea and has built a profitable business generating approximately $1.3 billion in annual revenue. As the second most consumed beverage in the world after water, tea represents an $87 billion global market opportunity and the company intends to build Tazo into a globally-recognized multi-billion dollar brand.

Annie Young-Scrivner has been appointed president, Tazo, in addition to her current responsibilities as Starbucks global chief marketing officer. Young-Scrivner’s experience includes extensive product management – with a track record of successfully bringing to market and building numerous brands – making her ideally suited to lead the efforts to grow the Tazo brand.

All three new regional presidents – Burrows, Culver and Gass - along with Hansberry and Young-Scrivner will report to Schultz.


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