Starbucks Eliminates Chief Operating Officer Role Amid Internal Shakeup
Starbucks (SBUX) is eliminating the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) as the retail coffee
chain restructures its business.
Seattle-based Starbucks said in a news release that John Culver, the current COO, is leaving
the company after 20 years as part of a restructuring that will permanently eliminate his role.
The shakeup at Starbucks comes after former chief executive officer (CEO) Kevin Johnson
retired earlier this year, resulting in Howard Schultz returning to the company as CEO on an
Since his return this past spring, Schultz has said that bold changes are on the way at
On his first day as interim CEO, Schultz cancelled the company's $20 billion U.S. stock buyback
program, saying he wants to reinvest profits directly in the business.
Investors will hear more details on Schultz's vision for Starbucks at the company's annual
investor day in Seattle on September 13.
Effective October 3, current COO Culver will step down from his role and become an executive
advisor until he leaves the company entirely at the end of the calendar year, Starbucks said.
The company added that it plans to permanently eliminate the role of COO, with many of
Culver's direct reports to be managed by Schultz moving forward.
In the past, Starbucks has used its chief operating officer role as a training ground for future
chief executives, and Culver was seen as a potential candidate for the top job.
However, Schultz said in June that the company is looking externally for the new chief
executive, who is expected to be named sometime this fall.
Culver has served as chief operating officer and president of Starbucks' North American
business for a little more than a year. Prior to that, he ran Starbucks' international divisions.
Starbucks stock is down 24% this year and currently trading at $88.55 U.S. per share.
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