A pedestrian carries a cup of the Starbucks brand in San Francisco, California, USA, Thursday, April 28, 2022. Starbucks Corp.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty pictures
Starbucks’ North American president Rossann Williams is leaving the company and will be replaced by the head of the coffee chain̵[ads1]7;s Asia Pacific division.
The announcement on Friday marks the latest change in the company under interim CEO Howard Schultz, who returned to the top job in April after former CEO Kevin Johnson resigned. Schultz is expected to stay in the role around the end of the year, after the board appoints a long-term successor. In his time so far, Schultz has halted the company’s share buyback program, committed $ 1 billion to raise wages and improve cafes, and vocally pushed back against union work.
“As we approach the next chapter, we have made a difficult but necessary change in our North American business; a change that creates new leadership for a new era at Starbucks,” wrote John Culver, the company’s CEO, in a note to employees seen by CNBC. “The decision was not taken lightly and was a precursor to discussion of a next opportunity for Rossann in the company, which she declined.”
Williams has worked for Starbucks since 2004, when she joined the coffee chain after joining Toys’ R Us and Blockbuster. Over the past year, she has been one of the public faces of the company’s efforts to curb union efforts from baristas. More than 150 Starbucks cafes in the United States have voted to organize, starting Friday.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on Williams’ departure.
Sara Trilling, who currently serves as president of Starbucks’ Asia Pacific operations, will succeed Williams in the role starting Tuesday. Trilling has been with the company for two decades, and started in the creative studio and worked with the store design and worked his way up. Williams will help with her transition through June and Cliff Burrows, president of the company’s Americas division, will also assist in an advisory role.