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Aug 18, 2022

Starbucks COO to step down, role to be eliminated in overhaul

Starbucks Q3 revenue beat lifts shares

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Starbucks Corp. Chief Operating Officer John Culver will leave the company as the coffee chain undergoes a broader leadership overhaul.

Culver will step down from his current role on Oct. 3 and serve as an executive adviser before departing the company at the end of 2022. Starbucks will eliminate the COO role, with day-to-day business operations now reporting to the chief executive officer. Frank Britt, chief strategy and transformation officer, will oversee some additional functions, the company said late Thursday.

“Our reinvention requires us to rethink our leadership structure to create every opportunity for our new CEO and, most importantly, to accelerate delivery of modernized and elevated experiences,” CEO Howard Schultz said in a letter to employees about Culver’s departure.

In a separate letter, Culver said that George Dowdie, Starbucks’s global supply-chain chief, also plans to leave the company.

Schultz returned to Starbucks as interim CEO this year after the departure of predecessor Kevin Johnson in April. He has moved quickly to put his stamp on the company in his third stint at the helm, even as Starbucks seeks a new permanent CEO whom it plans to name in the fall. He dismissed former General Counsel Rachel Gonzalez and blasted past management for “false promises” in an April message to employees.

Starbucks shares were down 1.3 per cent to US$87.40 in light premarket trading Friday. The shares had dropped 24 per cent this year through Thursday, worse than the 10 per cent decline of the S&P 500 Index.

CNBC earlier reported the COO news.