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Starbucks cuts 600 jobs

SEATTLE Starbucks Corp. is eliminating 600 jobs as part of a reorganization, the next step in what the coffee chain has described as a year of transformation.

Chairman and chief executive Howard Schultz, who earlier this year pledged to rid the company of bureaucracy, said 220 employees have already left the company. All of the eliminated positions were in the United States, and one-third of the posts were reportedly in the company’s Seattle headquarters. The rest were in regional support offices across the country.

Also included in the count are 380 vacant jobs that will not be filled, Schultz said.

“Over the last several weeks, we conducted a thorough organizational analysis, which was, at times, very emotional and extremely stressful,” wrote Schultz in a letter to employees. “But as I sit at my desk and think about my responsibility to over 170,000 partners and their families who rely on me and others to preserve and enhance our company, I know that I am responsible for ensuring the success of the company for the long term, which means that difficult decisions must be made.”

Earlier this year, Schultz said Starbucks would close 100 underperforming stores across the United States, slow down domestic store openings and rev up growth overseas. Other turnaround steps to date have included the dismissal of chief executive and president Jim Donald and the shuffling of other top management. Schultz succeeded Donald as CEO

In addition, Schultz pledged to strengthen the brand’s focus on U.S. consumers, in part via a new corporate structure. The updated setup is also intended to consolidate support functions and reduce redundancies.

Effective Feb. 25, domestic field operations will expand from two divisions to four, including the Western/Pacific; Northwest/Mountain; Southeast/Plains; and Northeast/Atlantic. Each division will be led by a senior vice president.

In addition, Starbucks said support functions would be consolidated into teams under the categories of domestic store development, U.S. licensed stores, U.S. finance, partner resources, marketing, in-store experience, global supply chain, global communications, and partner and asset protection.

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