Starbucks COO John Culver will exit his role effective Oct. 3 and the chain will eliminate its COO post at the end of fiscal 2022, Culver said in a letter to employees Thursday.
Culver will stay on as an executive advisor to the CEO until end of 2022. His subordinates will report directly to interim CEO Howard Schultz and Frank Britt, whose role has been expanded from chief strategy officer to chief strategy and transformation officer.
Executive Vice Presidents Sara Kelly and AJ Jones II have also been permanently appointed as chief partner officer and chief communications and public affairs officer, respectively, and EVP of Global Supply Chain George Dowdie will exit his role at the end of 2022.
These C-suite changes come amid Schultz’s call for “a different kind” of leadership at the company, and Culver’s departure marks the chain’s third major executive exit in four months. In June, Rossann Williams, former head of Starbucks North America, left the coffee chain after Starbucks’ offered her another position within the company. One month prior, former General Counsel Rachel Gonzalez left.
The decision to cull the COO role has been in the works for several months as part of Starbucks’ larger brand overhaul, Culver said in a statement. Culver’s exit coincides with operational challenges at the chain, however, as Starbucks doesn’t have the capacity to meet growing demand, Schultz said during the chain’s Q2 earnings call.
“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 for our green apron partners and our customers,” Schultz wrote in a separate letter.
Starbucks’ daily business operations, including customer and cafe functions, will now be directed to the CEO. Strategy leaders will report to Frank Britt in his expanded role.
Culver will take 20 years of Starbucks experience with him as the company gears up to boost efficiency and profitability across its cafe network.