retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC reports that Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said yesterday in an internal memo that the company “is planning to cut approximately 5 percent of its global corporate workforce,” with the impact hitting “about 350 employees in marketing, creative, product, technology and store development.”

According to the story, “Johnson said affected divisions will undergo ‘significant changes’ as Starbucks narrows its priorities and aims to become a more nimble company. While the decisions were ‘incredibly difficult,’ he said they were made after ‘very careful consideration.’ Johnson said impacted roles were related to work that had been ‘eliminated’ or ‘deprioritized’.”

Meanwhile, the Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Starbucks appears to be engaged in a leadership shakeup, removing seven people from its leadership webpage and adding five others, as well as announcing that Chief Procurement Officer Chris Carr currently is taking a sabbatical.

The people removed from leadership were Pam Greer, SVP of global strategy, insights and analytics; Aimee Johnson, SVP of customer relationship management; Tony Matta, President of global channel development; Bill McNichols, SVP of corporate development and business alliances; Paul Mutty, SVP and deputy general counsel of law and corporate affairs; Zeta Smith, Divisional senior vice president for the east division; and Richard Tait, SVP and entrepreneur in residence.”

Added to leadership: Kelly Bengston, SVP, chief procurement officer; Emily Chang, SVP of U.S. marketing; Jen Frisch, SVP of partner resources, licensed stores and operations services; Holly May, SVP of global total reward; Gina Woods, SVP of marketing, brand and partner communications.

According to the Business Journal, “Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges would not confirm any specific departures, but said the executives who were removed from the leadership page were a combination of voluntarily and involuntary departures, including sabbaticals and new roles at Nestle through a $7.15 billion deal for the Swiss company to sell Starbucks' products.”
KC's View:
I still find it interesting that all these changes are being made after Howard Schultz has left the company and reportedly is exploring a run for president. Not sure if it is positive or negative. Just interesting. (Though the negative campaign ad about him probably writes itself at this point.)