By Lisa Baertlein
LOS ANGELES Jan 29 Starbucks Corp Chief
Executive Officer Howard Schultz on Wednesday said he was
promoting Chief Financial Officer Troy Alstead to the new
position of chief operating officer, allowing Schultz to focus
on keeping the coffee shop chain ahead of the curve in retail
technology including mobile payments.
Alstead will assume oversight of the company's day-to-day
operations. Scott Maw, senior vice president of corporate
finance, will succeed Alstead as CFO.
Starbucks, already a leader in mobile payments, gift cards,
loyalty programs and digital marketing, for years has been
finding ways to strengthen results by linking its cafe business
and product sales through grocery stores and other retailers.
Schultz said such efforts helped the Seattle-based company
outshine other U.S. retailers during the 2013 holiday season,
when shopper visits to overall brick-and-mortar stores dropped
and online sales increased.
Starbucks' traffic rose 4 percent during the quarter that
included the holiday season. The chain also saw a record $1.4
billion loaded onto gift cards during that quarter.
The CEO expects the company's latest move to further
strengthen Starbucks' business.
It is an opportunity for Starbucks "to create new channels
of revenue and profit outside four walls of stores .. amid a
seismic shift" in the way consumers are shopping, Schultz who is
also chairman, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Schultz, who will be working closely with executives
including Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman and Chief Strategy
Officer Matt Ryan, declined to give specifics on the company's
"This is not about succession planning and this is not about
me in any planning to or even thinking about leaving he
company," he said.
Starbucks is an investor in mobile payments provider Square.
When asked if Starbucks would buy Square, which counts the
coffee company among its users, Schultz said Starbucks has no
near-term acquisition plans.
He did say that future efforts would include the use of
"Starbucks currency in other retailers outside Starbucks."
Starbucks already allows registered Starbucks card users to
earn "stars," or points, when they buy coffee at a participating
grocery store. Those stars can then be redeemed at a Starbucks
Starbucks has mobile payment applications in eight countries
including the United States and Canada. It offers Starbucks
cards in 28 countries.
The company reaps 70 percent of its total revenue from its
U.S.-dominated Americas business, which includes sales from
11,500 U.S. cafes.
Its forecast for this fiscal year includes opening 1,500 new
units around the globe - including 600 in the U.S.-dominated
Shares in Starbucks inched up 0.2 percent to $71.70 in