Starbucks Corp. is overhauling its top management team, the company said Wednesday, including a shift in focus for chairman, president and chief executive Howard Schultz, who will step away from day-to-day operations to hone his attention on innovation, the store experience, and the next generation of retailing and payment.

Chief financial officer Troy Alstead will be promoted to chief operating officer, a newly created position, and will lead daily operations for the 20,184-unit Seattle-based chain.

The new leadership structure positions the company to better leverage its assets and operations to respond to what Schultz has described as a seismic shift in consumer behavior that is already underway.

In a call with analysts last week, Schultz warned that consumers will increasingly move away from brick-and-mortar retailers to shop online. He noted that Starbucks, however, is uniquely positioned to take advantage of that shift with its investments in digital and mobile technologies.

The leadership changes “map our internal talent to the rapidly evolving retail environment and significant strategic and market opportunities ahead of us,” Schultz said in a statement Wednesday. “Each of these experienced Starbucks leaders will be working closely with the entire senior leadership team, and me, to bring even greater financial and operational discipline to our business around the world.”

Schultz was ranked the No. 1 most powerful person in the restaurant industry on The Power List, presented by NRN. View Schultz’s Power List profile >>

The changes, which are scheduled to go into effect on Feb. 3, include the following:

• Schultz will partner with Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, and Matt Ryan, chief strategy officer, to expand his focus on innovation in coffee, tea and the Starbucks experience, as well as next-generation retailing and payment initiatives in the areas of digital, mobile, card, loyalty and e-commerce.

• Alstead, the company’s chief financial officer and global business services group president, will step into the COO role, with group presidents reporting to him. Alstead will report to Schultz and will be responsible for aligning and prioritizing company investments across business units.

Group presidents include Cliff Burrows, U.S., Americas and Teavana; John Culver, China Asia Pacific, Channel Development and Emerging Brands; and Kris Engskov, president of Europe, Middle East and Africa, or EMEA.

• Scott Maw, senior vice president of corporate finance, will be promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer, replacing and reporting to Alstead. Maw will oversee the company’s global finances. He joined Starbucks as global controller in 2011.

• Craig Russell, Starbucks voice and advocate for coffee, will be promoted to executive vice president, global coffee. He previously served as senior vice president for the same function since 2012. Russell will continue to report to Schultz and will lead all aspects of the company’s coffee strategy, quality, innovation, purchasing, education and engagement. His team also oversees Starbucks Farmer Support Centers and works closely with the company’s supply chain operations and global responsibility teams.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
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