- Starbucks has hired Deb Hall Lefevre, a former executive at international convenience store company Alimentation Couche-Tard, which operates Circle K, as its new chief technology officer. Previously, Lefevre worked for McDonald's for 16 years in various positions, including vice president for global enterprise solutions and business transformations, according to her LinkedIn profile.
- Lefevre succeeds interim CTO Hans Melotte on May 2. Melotte entered the role when longtime CTO Gerri Martin-Flickinger stepped down in December.
- This marks the third Starbucks executive change since Howard Schultz became interim CEO on April 4, his third stint as head of the company. The coffee chain added Frank Britt as chief strategy officer and released general counsel Rachel Gonzalez with a $7.6 million separation package, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.
Starbucks' CTO change coincides with company considerations to make changes to its loyalty program and drive-thru operations, Reuters reported on Friday. Starbucks declined to offer comment on any changes to its operations, but a spokesperson said Lefevre's experience with multi-unit retail companies and technological transformation made her an ideal candidate.
Former CEO Kevin Johnson hinted that Starbucks was mulling technological adjustments to its rewards program on its Starbucks Q4 earnings call in October.
"Through blockchain or other innovative technologies, we are exploring how to tokenize Stars, create the ability for other merchants to connect their rewards program to Starbucks Rewards," Johnson said. Starbucks also struck a loyalty integration with Air Canada, which allowed customers to convert loyalty points between the two companies, Johnson said.
As of Q1 2022, Starbucks rewards' program had grown 21% to a record 26.4 million 90-day active members, driving more than $3 billion in Starbucks Card reloads. Rewards program members also accounted for 53% of spend in U.S. Starbucks locations during that period.
Though mobile rewards have been a huge boon for the company, Starbucks workers in New York, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts have told Restaurant Dive that mobile orders placed on the company's app are a source of chaos on the shop floor.