Starbucks’ chief operating officer and group president Roz Brewer will leave the company and its board at the end of February. The java chain on Tuesday said Brewer “accepted a new opportunity as chief executive officer at another publicly traded company.” Later in the day, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. announced Brewer as its next CEO, which will make her the only Black woman to presently lead a Fortune 500 company.
Brewer’s responsibilities at Starbucks will be assumed by Rossann Williams, president of North America retail, and Brady Brewer, EVP and chief marketing officer. Brewer replaces Stefano Pessina at Walgreens. He announced in July he would step down once the nation’s largest drugstore chain found an executive. He remains on its board and will serve as executive chairman.
Brewer makes the jump with CEO experience in tow. Before joining Starbucks in October 2017, Brewer held the president and CEO post at Sam’s Club. She was one of Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson’s first big leadership changes after he took the post that April following Howard Schultz’s shift into executive chairman. Brewer, 58, served as CEO of Sam’s Club for five years.
She will join Walgreens and its board on March 15, and will also resign from the board of Amazon.com Inc. on February 16.
Brewer’s departure marks the second significant executive change for Starbucks in recent weeks. CFO Pat Grismer announced in early January his intentions to retire, a move that will go into effect February 1. Grismer came on board in November 2018 after more than 25 years of experience at Hyatt Hotels, Yum! Brands, and the Walt Disney Company.
Starbucks welcomed incoming CFO Rachel Ruggeri during Tuesday’s Q1 earnings call. Currently SVP of finance for Starbucks’ Americas division, Ruggeri has been with the company for 16 years, joining in 2011 as a member of the accounting department. She helped launch the first Starbucks Card and clocked time as VP of corporate financial planning and analysis, vice president of finance in support of the U.S. business, and senior vice president of finance for global retail.
Brewer left a visible mark on Starbucks. She helped push forward its to-go operations and was a key voice in the company’s efforts to diversify company leadership. The company began tying executive compensation to increasing minority representation in its workforce and mandated antibias training for corporate leaders.
Walgreens has struggled of late, with its profit falling 25 percent in the most recent quarter despite overall revenue rising. This past year, Walgreens was among the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s worst-performing companies, with shares dropping 29.4 percent. The company also recently announced plans to sell much of its wholesale pharmacy business in Europe, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Starbucks’ global same-store sales declined 5 percent in Q1. The number was driven by a 19 percent decrease in traffic and partially offset by a 17 percent boost in average ticket as guests continue to order more, although they’re ordering less often—a pandemic trend that’s stuck throughout.
Comps in the Americas fell 6 percent, with transactions down 21 percent and average ticket up 20 percent. U.S. same-store sales slid 5 percent as traffic decreased 21 percent and average ticket hiked 19 percent.
International comps dipped 3 percent on a 10 percent decline in transactions and 8 percent rise in average ticket. In China, they rose 5 percent (3 percent decline in transactions, 9 percent lift in average ticket).
Starbucks opened 278 net new stores in Q1 and exited the period with 32,938 stores, of which 51 and 49 percent were company-run and licensed, respectively. The U.S. had 15,340 locations. China 4,863.
Starbucks posted consolidated net revenues of $6.7 billion, a 5 percent decline versus the year-ago period. The brand’s Rewards loyalty program 90-day active members in the U.S. also increased to 21.8 million, up 15 percent year-over-year
Adjusted earnings per share were 61 cents, which beat Wall Street expectations of 55 cents.
“I am very pleased with our start to fiscal 2021, with meaningful, sequential improvements in quarterly financial results despite ongoing business disruption from the pandemic,” Johnson said. “Investments in our partners, beverage innovation and digital customer relationships continued to fuel our recovery and position Starbucks for long-term, sustainable growth.”