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Jan 7, 2021

Starbucks names Rachel Ruggeri as its third CFO in as many years

Shane Obata discusses Starbucks


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Starbucks Corp.’s top finance officer will retire after a little more than two years in the role, paving the way for another female CFO in the S&P 500.

Rachel Ruggeri, senior vice president of finance for the Americas, will become chief financial officer on Feb. 1. The company’s third finance chief in as many years, she replaces Patrick Grismer, 58, who will remain an adviser through May 2, the coffee giant said in a statement.

Key Insights

Ruggeri, 51, will report to Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson. She first joined Starbucks in 2001 as a member of the accounting team, where she helped to launch the first Starbucks Card, before moving up the chain. “It gives me great confidence to know that Rachel, a long-time Starbucks colleague and a seasoned financial executive, is stepping into this role,” said Johnson.

Her appointment adds to the record number of women now holding the top finance jobs at large U.S. companies. Still, if history is any guide, the promotion to CFO gets women into the C-suite, but it doesn’t often lead to promotion to chief executive officer.

Departing CFO Grismer had been in the role since late 2018, when he joined from Hyatt Hotels Corp. Johnson said he served during a “period of unprecedented change and transformative growth.” He stepped in after former CFO Scott Maw announced plans to retire in 2018, at the time spooking investors already worried about stability after leader Howard Schultz’s departure that same month.

The company also reaffirmed its previous guidance Thursday and said it’s working to “ensure we even further differentiate Starbucks position over time.”

Market Reaction

Shares were down 0.2 per cent as of 8:44 a.m. in New York, before the start of regular trading.