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Starbucks beefs up leadership team

Starbucks chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz announced changes to the company’s senior leadership team, aimed to further accelerate the company’s global growth plans.

John Culver has been promoted to group president, China and Asia Pacific (CAP), channel development and emerging brands. Culver has spent the last six years focused on building the talent, business model and infrastructure required for the aggressive growth of the company’s international business with record results, most recently as the head of the CAP region. In his new role, he will leverage his 10-plus years of retail and consumer packaged goods experience at Starbucks to lead the company’s global channel development and emerging brands portfolio while continuing to oversee the growth of the company’s CAP business. Culver will continue to report directly to Schultz.

Jeff Hansberry will be promoted to president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, and will report to Culver. In his three years with Starbucks, Hansberry has built what Schultz describes as a world-class channel development and emerging brands team. In his new role, Hansberry will be accountable for the region’s retail business and leading the effort to build a major channel presence in Asia and China, in particular, helping drive the integration of the total business in the company’s fastest growing region. He will be based in Hong Kong. 

Cliff Burrows has been promoted to group president, Americas and U.S., Europe, Middle East and Africa and Teavana. Burrows’ 12 years with Starbucks started in EMEA, where he led both the UK market as well as the region overall. He moved to the U.S. in 2008 and has set a high bar of record performance for the Americas retail business and with his team leading the integration of Evolution Fresh, La Boulange, and soon Teavana into the company’s retail stores. Burrows will also be leading the expansion of Teavana retail stores in partnership with Teavana founder and CEO Andy Mack. He will continue to report to Schultz.

Michelle Gass will return to the U.S. this summer to work directly with Schultz, utilizing the skills she has acquired since putting the U.S. transformation agenda of 2008-09 into place as well as leading the EMEA region through its turnaround and growth efforts throughout the last two years. Through the leadership of the Renaissance Plan — including new, locally relevant customer initiatives, energizing Our Starbucks Mission and Values and refining the region’s business model — Gass leaves the EMEA region in significantly better health than when she arrived, with renewed business momentum and a roadmap for a strong trajectory of sustainable growth and profitability. Gass will continue to report to Schultz.

Kris Engskov will be promoted to SVP and president of EMEA. He will report to Burrows and continue the work of the EMEA Renaissance Plan. Notably, Engskov has led the transformation of the UK business — one of the world’s most competitive coffee markets. Burrows will begin a search for Engskov’s replacement as UK and Ireland managing director right away, while Engskov continues leading his current team during the transition.

Sharon Rothstein, global CMO, and Matt Ryan, global chief strategy officer, are joining Starbucks and the company’s senior leadership team, both reporting to Schultz. Rothstein, who has already begun her immersion, comes to Starbucks from Sephora and will serve as steward of the Starbucks brand experience while strengthening integration with newer emerging brands, creating the company’s brand narrative for retail and channel development, leading marketing initiatives, advertising and key business partnerships. Ryan will join Starbucks next week from the Walt Disney Company and be responsible for driving Starbucks long-term strategic planning while bringing enhanced customer insights and analytics to the company’s brand expression and customer experience.

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