June 1, 2023

Narasimhan, who took over the reins as CEO earlier this week, said in a letter to Starbucks employees on Thursday that he also expects company management to be connected and involved in store operations.

“Although our performances are strong, our health must be better,” Narasimhan wrote in a letter. “We must take care of the artists and the theater in front of our stores and the factory behind.”

Being a CEO in stores is new for Seattle-based Starbucks, but not unprecedented for large companies. For example, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu and his executive team deliver DoorDash once a month.

Narasimhan, 55, posted the letter shortly before the company’s annual meeting, which was held virtually. The former PepsiCo executive has spent the past six months dipping into Starbucks, earning a barista certification, and visiting stores, farms and manufacturing centers around the world.

“I felt it was very important to start working as a barista. I wanted to really understand what they do and how they do it,” Narasimhan said in comments emailed to The Associated Press. “I have loved and learned so much about the retail experience working in our stores and now I can make great French press if I say so myself.”

Narasimhan said his first priority is to remove some of the company’s limitations. The renovation plan, which was announced last fall, sees equipment and layout upgrades to make stores more efficient and increase employee retention through higher wages and benefits, he said. The average Starbucks worker in the US now earns $17.50 an hour.

Narasimhan said he would like to see Starbucks become a more global company, become less wasteful and grow at a faster pace.

“My immersion gave me the opportunity to experience all aspects of the Starbucks business, culture and brand,” he said. “Together we recognized the possibility of recreating Starbucks.”

Narasimhan succeeded longtime Starbucks leader Howard Schultz, who retired last spring to become interim CEO while the company searched for a new chief executive. Schultz will remain on the company’s board of directors.

Some investors were unhappy with the move, saying Starbucks should have had a more robust succession plan when former CEO Kevin Johnson stepped down last April. Among the shareholder proposals voted on by investors on Thursday was one requiring Starbucks’ board of directors to begin succession planning at least three years in advance of the expected transition.

Another shareholder proposal would require Starbucks to commission an independent assessment of its commitment to workers’ collective bargaining rights. The offer comes amid an ongoing union movement that Starbucks opposes.

At least 293 of the company’s 9,000 Starbucks stores in the US have voted to merge since the end of 2021. Workers have begun negotiations with the company, but so far no store has reached an agreement on a new contract.

The process was controversial. Earlier this month, a federal labor judge found the company violated labor laws “hundreds of times” during a unionization campaign in Buffalo, New York. The company is filing an appeal.

On Wednesday, workers at more than 100 US Starbucks stores went on strike across the country, demanding that Starbucks sit down at the negotiating table and work out labor agreements. It was the third nationwide workers’ strike.

Starbucks Workers United, a labor union, said it wanted to send a message to Narasimhan that the change in CEO is an opportunity to break with the past and partner with the union. Schultz had long opposed unionization.

But in his comments to AP, Narasimhan spoke in the same tone as his predecessor. He said Starbucks respects workers’ right to organize but believes the company works best without a union.

“As a company, our experience is that direct relationships with our partners are the foundation of our culture and the experiences we create in our stores,” Narasimhan said. “I continue to believe that direct relationships with our partners are the best way forward.” “. .”

Starbucks said it will announce the results of the shareholder vote in the next few days.

Shares of Starbucks fell less than 1% to $98.34 in late trading on Thursday.

Follow all corporate news and updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News app to get daily market updates and live business news.

More or less

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *