A pedestrian carries a Starbucks branded cup on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in San Francisco, California, US. Starbucks Corp.
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starbucks’ North American President Rawson Williams is leaving the company and will be replaced by the head of the coffee chain’s Asia Pacific division.
The announcement Friday marks the latest change at the company under interim CEO Howard Schultz, who returned to the top job in April after former CEO Kevin Johnson left. After naming a long-term successor to the board, Schultz is slated to stay in the role until the end of the year. In his time so far, Schultz has halted the company’s stock buyback program, promised $1 billion to raise pay and improve cafes, and has vocally pushed back against union efforts.
“As we begin the next chapter, we have made a difficult, but necessary change in our North America business; a change that creates new leadership for a new era at Starbucks,” said the company’s chief operating officer, John Culver wrote in a memo to employees seen by CNBC. “The decision was not taken lightly and was preceded by discussions within the company about the next opportunity for Rossen, which it declined.”
Williams has worked for Starbucks since 2004, when she joined the coffee chain after working on Toys R Us and Blockbuster. Over the past year, she has been one of the public faces of the company’s barista’s efforts to curb unionization efforts. As of Friday, more than 150 Starbucks cafes in the US have voted to unionize.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Williams’ departure.
Sarah Trilling, who currently serves as president of Starbucks’ Asia Pacific business, will replace Williams in the role effective Tuesday. Trilling has been with the company for two decades, working on his retail store design in his creative studio and working his way up. Williams will assist in its transition through June and Cliff Burroughs, president of the company’s Americas division, will also assist in an advisory role.