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Starbucks’ new CEO to work in stores monthly

Laxman Narasimhan spent the last six months immersing himself in Starbucks, including earning his barista certification.

The new chief executive of Starbucks said he plans to earn his “green apron” every day.

Laxman Narasimhan, who took the reins as Starbucks CEO from Howard Schultz earlier this week, told employees that he plans to work a half-day shift once every month at one of the coffee giant’s stores in order to stay connected to the company’s culture and customers as well as its challenges and opportunities.

In a letter to Starbucks’ employees, the executive said that he also expects the company’s leadership team to stay connected as well.

“I expect each member of the leadership team to also ensure our support centers stay connected and engaged in the realities of our stores for discussion and improvement,” he wrote.

In the letter, Narasimhan detailed the company’s areas of strategic focus as it moves forward:

“For long-term, sustainable growth, we will look to discover ways to further elevate the brand through coffee and in our stores; building on our leadership position, we will strengthen and further scale digital experiences for our customers; we will evolve to a more global presence for our business and our brand; we will work to become less wasteful and move with greater speed; and, critically, we will reinvigorate our culture around what it means to be a partner at Starbucks,” he said.

Narasimhan issued the letter prior to hosting the company’s 31st annual meeting, which was held virtually. At the meeting, Starbucks noted it has announced over $1 billion in investments in the overall partner experience, which has shown up with the introduction of new benefits and with increases in pay. The investments have brought the average hourly pay at Starbucks to nearly $17.50 per hour nationally and with a range of $15- to $23 per hour.

“We just announced more grants to uplift a million women and girls around the world in origin countries,” said Michelle Burns, executive VP of global coffee, tea and cocoa. “We've just put into place outreach workers in the U.S. to support our stores, keep them safe, and help on the mental crisis that's happening in America.”

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