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Starbucks has announced a shakeup at the executive level.

Starbucks promotes Michael Conway to newly created role of CEO, North America

The personnel move is part of an overall structural leadership change at the Seattle-based coffee chain

Starbucks announced Monday the promotion of former company group president of International and Channel Development, Michael Conway, to the newly created role of CEO, North America. Conway’s new role is one of several leadership changes at the Seattle-based coffee chain that are meant to create a leadership structure with clear geographic locations in mind, “supported by global functions with deep functional expertise and the ability to drive impact on a global scale.”

“To further accelerate progress, consistent with our ambitions, we are realigning the organization to balance clear geographical focus with investing in functional capabilities to scale around the world, generating productivity and reinvigorating our partner culture,” Laxman Narasimhan said in a statement.

Conway’s promotion is effective April 1, alongside other personnel changes that include:

  • Sara Trilling will remain on as executive vice president and president, North America, with a specific focus on enhancing the employee experience, and growing the Starbucks store portfolio in the region. She will report to Michael Conway.
  • Brady Brewer is being promoted from executive vice president, chief marketing officer to CEO of Starbucks International. He will oversee teams and stores across most of Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
  • Belinda Wong, chairwoman and co-CEO and Molly Liu, co-CEO, will both continue to lead Starbucks’ team in China.  
  • Lynn Castonguay joins Starbucks as the company’s first executive vice president, chief merchant and product officer, with a focus on developing new product and growth platforms. She most recently served as COO of food and beverage manufacturing company, Saputo, Inc.

With these changes in place, Starbucks will no longer have a global chief marketing officer, Instead, each new geographic area will have its own designated marketing team, designed to specifically address markets in North America, China, and elsewhere internationally.

The structural leadership changes were announced three months after an internal audit alleged that Starbucks made union-related missteps based on the company’s “weakened governance," though Starbucks has clarified that the newly announced leadership changes are unrelated.

"The new organizational structure announced is designed to accelerate our 'Triple Shot with Two Pumps' reinvention plan—creating clear geographic regions built with the authority and resources to grow, supported by global functions designed to ensure the company continues to resonate and drive impact on a global scale," a Starbucks spokesperson told Nation's Restaurant News via email. 

Contact Joanna at [email protected]m

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