Rosalind Brewer Named First Woman, African American COO of Starbucks

Earlier this week, Starbucks named Rosalind Brewer as their new Chief Operating Officer and group president – the second highest position after President and CEO Kevin Johnson – The Seattle Times reports. Brewer being appointed as the new COO of Starbucks makes her the first woman and the first African American to hold the title of such an echelon position in the history of the company.

As COO, Brewer will oversee Starbucks businesses all across the US, Canada, and Latin America.

However, this won’t be Brewer’s first seat at the table. The Spelman alum was also the first woman and the first African American to be CEO of Sam’s Club. She spent five years running Sam’s Club and before that, spent six years at Wal-Mart, beginning in 2006 with her position as regional vice president over operations in Georgia.

In January, she retired from her role of President and CEO of Sam’s Club and announced her retirement would be effective February 1, 2017. On February 1, 2017, Brewer joined the Starbucks Board of Directors. With her extensive experience as a retail analyst, she proved to be an asset to repairing the slowed growth Starbucks has experienced in recent quarters.

“I’ve been impressed with the work that (Starbucks) has done in the digital space,” Brewer told The Seattle Times, “but you can only build that if you’ve got a strong base in the basics of running a good retail operation … Let’s face it — the mobile app has been fantastic for this brand. And anytime something is new and goes this well, it’s time to make sure that as this thing grows, we’ve got every piece of our business intact.”

The “world-class retail operator” will receive an annual base salary of a cool mill, plus a $1 million signing bonus and a $7 million equity award – per The Seattle Times. Brewer will officially be on the job starting October 2 and will be based in the company’s headquarters in Seattle.

Brewer’s first focus as COO? She wishes to focus on improving Starbucks stores without removing the human aspect of what makes Starbucks the great franchise that it is. She seeks to do that by placing the right people in the right place. Sounds simple, but it might just be what Starbucks needs to get that growth and shares back up to par.

“I’m excited about what could happen next, but I am very appreciative of where it is right now,” Brewer added. “It’s in great shape.”

Photo Credit: Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.