Starbucks COO Roz Brewer leaving to change into CEO of publicly traded firm


Starbucks announced Tuesday that Chief Operating Officer Rosalind Brewer will be leaving for a CEO at an undisclosed public company in late February.

Brewer joined the coffee chain’s board of directors in 2017 and later that year became its chief operating officer after serving as CEO of Sam’s Club, owned by Walmart. She was the first black woman to be the COO of Starbucks and head a department at the big box retailer. Before joining Walmart, she worked for consumer goods giant Kimberly-Clark.

In her current position, Brewer is involved in a wide variety of roles from technology initiatives to creating new coffee beverages. It was widely expected that she would succeed current CEO Kevin Johnson. Upon their departure, these responsibilities will be shared between CMOs Brady Brewer and Rossann Williams, who will serve as presidents of company-operated offices in the US and Canada.

Brewer also sits on Amazon’s board of directors and chairs the board of trustees of Spelman College. She was previously a director at Lockheed Martin and Molson Coors Beverage.

Brewer’s exit comes as investors, regulators, and activists push for more diversity in Corporate America. Nasdaq has proposed changes that would result in greater racial and gender diversity on the boards of public companies that are listed on its stock exchange.

Starbucks said Brewer’s next position will be announced “in the near future.” No black women will be the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies until Tuesday.

The company recently announced the resignation of its CFO Pat Grismer. He will be replaced by Rachel Ruggeri, who will serve as Senior Vice President of Finance for the Americas Division from February 1.

Starbucks shares fell 1.6% in expanded trading on Tuesday after the chain released its fiscal first quarter results. It beat analysts’ estimates for its profits, but its US revenue recovery stalled as Covid-19 cases increased in the quarter.