Starbucks names first-ever CEO, North America; adds new global roles

Starbucks intends to grow to 55,000 stores globally.

Starbucks Coffee Company said it is making several leadership changes, with a goal of creating “a clear geographical leadership structure.”

The changes, which go into effect on April 1, including the appointment of Michael Conway to the newly created role of CEO of North America. Conway, who joined Starbucks in 2013, is currently serving as group president, international and channel development. 

“His deep experience in strategic planning and operational excellence, as well as his efforts to support building our brand and culture around the world make him well positioned for this new role,” Starbucks stated.

The coffee giant noted that Sara Trilling will remain executive VP and president, North America, focused on enhancing the retail employee experience while growing the North America store portfolio and North America licensed store business, reporting to Conway.  She remains a member of CEO Laxman Narasimhan’s executive leadership team. 

On the global front (thee out of four of Starbucks new store openings are planned for outside the U.S.) the company is making the following appointments.

•Brady Brewer will assume the role of CEO, Starbucks International, with oversight of the teams across Asia Pacific, EMEA, Japan and LAC, as well as the company’s international licensed partners. The 20-year-plus Starbucks veteran as served as senior VP in Starbucks Asia Pacific, as COO of Starbucks Japan, and most recently as executive VP, chief marketing officer.   

•Belinda Wong, chairwoman and co-CEO, and Molly Liu, co-CEO, will both continue to lead Starbucks China team.

The company also announced two new global positions: 

Lyne Castonguay will join Starbucks in the newly created position of executive VP, chief merchant and product officer, reporting to Narasimhan. Castonguay will oversee a newly created global function focused on global product strategy, developing new products and growth platforms. She will lead the global channel development team and Siren Retail.  

•Starbucks intends to soon appoint a global brand creative leader, reporting to Narasimhan. 

“As we look to the future, the opportunity we have is truly limitless,” stated Narasimhan. “Throughout our history, we have continued to reinvent not who we are or what we stand for, but what we do and how we connect with our customers and deliver our long-term aspirations. Because of our partners, and with our strategic plan and world class-leadership team, the best days of Starbucks are ahead of us.” 

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