Starbucks' President of U.S. Operations Resigns

Skinner to Be Replaced By Chain's Europe President in Latest Management Shake-up

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CHICAGO ( -- In yet another management shakeup at Starbucks, Launi Skinner, president of the chain's U.S. business, has resigned. According to the company, Ms. Skinner is leaving to spend more time with her family. Ms. Skinner, who was only appointed to the position last July, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cliff Burrows, president of the business in Europe, Middle East and Africa, will replace her, effective March 12.

"We are very sorry to see Launi go, but we know that her legacy at Starbucks is strong and that we are a better company thanks to her passion, commitment and leadership," Martin Coles, chief operating officer, said in a statement. "We are also very pleased that we were able to name a new leader for our U.S. business from within our company. Cliff has led our business and brand to tremendous success in the EMEA region most recently and the U.K. prior to this. We now look to him to apply that same drive and business acumen to leading our U.S. business."

Fifteen years with company
This is just the latest top-level shift at the coffee company following Howard Schultz's return to the helm of the marketer in January. Mr. Schultz installed Harry Roberts as senior VP-chief creative officer; Terry Davenport as senior VP-marketing, and Michelle Gass as senior VP-global strategy shortly after he re-assumed the CEO position, vowing to bring Starbucks back to its roots and improve the customer experience.

Ms. Skinner joined Starbucks in 1993. Prior to taking over as president, she was senior VP-store development, leading the company's U.S. store expansion between 2004 and 2007, accelerating the development of drive-thru stores and breaking into many markets. Prior to leading store development, Ms. Skinner had oversight of the Pacific Northwest region and also served as VP of the Canadian business.

Mr. Burrows has been with Starbucks since 2001, first as VP-managing director in the U.K. Before joining Starbucks, he was with Habitat Designs, a home retailer. Mr. Burrows' successor has yet to be named.
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