The Starbucks chain of command continues to see more changes as Rosann Williams, one of the brand’s most prominent figures and the head of the North American market, decided to leave Starbucks next Tuesday. The announcement came from Starbucks in a statement on Friday.
Rosann Williams is set to be replaced with Sara Trilling, a veteran who has spent two decades with the company in Hong Kong.
Williams’ departure comes not long after CEO Kevin Johnson stepped down. Howard Schultz resumed the position of interim CEO in April. Schultz is tipped to take the helm of the Starbucks ship throughout 2022 while the board looks for a long-term successor.
In the months under his leadership, Schultz has committed $1 billion to raise the wages of all chain employees and hit the brakes on the company’s stock buyback program. He has also been vocal in his sentiments against union efforts.
Williams’ departure was revealed in a letter to employees from Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver.
“As we embark on the next chapter, we have made a difficult but necessary change to our North America business; a change that creates new leadership for a new era at Starbucks,” the letter wrote. “The decision was not taken lightly and was once preceded by discussion about a next opportunity for Rossann within the company, which she declined.”
Rosann Williams has been with Starbucks since 2004. Her early career includes stints at Toys ‘R Us and Blockbuster. Amid the unionization efforts from baristas in the last year, Williams has been one of the most vocal figures in curbing their efforts. However, there are currently over 150 Starbucks cafes in the United States that have voted to Unionize.
The departure of Kevin Johnson and comments by Howard Schultz indicated that some major change was coming. The interim CEO suggested that one of Starbucks’ primary problems was the inability to meet customer demand for customizing drinks through multiple channels. Schultz also offered that the company would need a CEO from the outside, which would likely bring a comprehensive overhaul.
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