Starbucks Corp. has named former technology industry executive Kevin Johnson president and chief operating officer, the company said Thursday.
Johnson, who has served on Starbucks’ board since 2009, will replace Troy Alstead, who currently holds the COO role and plans to begin a sabbatical in March, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz told analysts in a call following the company’s first-quarter earnings report.
Johnson was previously CEO of Juniper Networks Inc., a networking products and services firm. He remains on Juniper’s board.
Schultz said Alstead’s decision to go on a “coffee break,” or sabbatical is a significant loss. “But we’re fortunate in having a No. 1 draft choice in Kevin Johnson,” he said during the call.
As president and COO, Johnson will lead the company’s global operating businesses across its three regions, as well as the supply chain, information technology, and mobile and digital platforms.
Senior leaders Cliff Burrows, group president, U.S., Americas and Teavana; and John Culver, group president, China/Asia Pacific, Channel Development and Emerging Brands, will report to Johnson.
In 2008, Johnson was appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, where he served through the end of 2013.
As Starbucks plans to roll out mobile ordering this year, Schultz said Johnson’s knowledge of the digital and information technology worlds would be particularly valuable.
Schultz said he had been discussing an increased role for Johnson with the company independent of Alstead’s plans to step down. But he made clear that the announcement was not part of some “unannounced succession arrangement.”
Johnson, who was also on the call, said he planned to work closely with Alstead for a seamless and smooth transition.
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