Starbucks is seeing more changes as Rosann Williams, one of the brand’s most prominent figures and head for the North American market, decided to leave the company. A statement from Starbucks announced this past Friday that she would be vacating her post effective this Tuesday.
The company has announced that they will be replacing Rossann Williams with Sara Trilling, a veteran who’s spent two decades helping the Asian Pacific Market out of Hong Kong.
Starbucks has had a series of high-profile departures from their top spots in recent months. Kevin Johnson stepped down as CEO, and now Williams is quitting after over 18 years with the company. Howard Schultz took over for Johnson as interim CEO while they look externally toward finding someone who can lead them into an uncertain future for the long-term.
Under his leadership, Schultz has committed $1 billion to raise the wages of all chain employees and hit the brakes on their stock buyback program. He’s also been firm in his stance against union efforts.
In a surprising move, Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver revealed in his letter to employees that they have mutually agreed upon the departure of Rossann Williams.
“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, and during her early career she worked at Blockbuster and Toys ‘R Us. In 18 years with the company, Williams has been firmly against unionization.
Regardless, over 150 Starbucks cafes have signed to form unions.
Johnson’s departure and Schultz’s comments indicated that major change was coming. The interim CEO suggested one of Starbucks’ primary problems is an inability to meet customer demand for customizing drinks through multiple channels. He also suggested bringing in a CEO from the outside, a move that would bring a comprehensive overhaul.