Starbucks hires former Target exec to lead supply operations

Starbucks hires former Target exec to lead supply operations

July 21, 2023

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Dive Brief:

  • Starbucks has hired Arthur Valdez as executive vice president of global supply and customer solutions, the company announced in a bio posted on its website Wednesday.
  • Valdez will join the company effective July 31 and report to CEO Laxman Narasimhan, according to a statement emailed to Restaurant Dive.
  • Starbucks’ supply chain is threatened by supply shocks that have followed COVID-19, as well as climate change. Rising average temperatures narrow the geographical and topographical ranges in which coffee can grow and shrinks yields, while heat waves can sterilize the plants.

Dive Insight:

Valdez joins Starbucks out of retirement, according to his bio on the company’s website. He spent seven years as Target’s EVP and chief supply chain and logistics officer, and also held positions at Walmart and Amazon. That experience with global, consumer-facing retail companies could prove useful at Starbucks, given the company’s global store count and its valuable consumer goods alliance with Nestle.

According to his bio, Valdez has specialized in “product inventory management, retail store operational efficiency, manufacturing, distribution and fulfillment to transportation,” as well as consumer network solutions. In a statement sent to the company’s employees, Narasimhan said Valdez would help cultivate an internal reserve of talent for managing supply chain and customer solutions as Starbucks grows globally.

On the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call, Narasimhan highlighted supply chains as one area Starbucks could look to achieve efficiencies.

“We are out of stock in more items than we would like,” Narasimhan said. “Our end-to-end supply chain has significant opportunities to reduce costs and improve availability.”

Starbucks has acknowledged that changing ecological conditions pose a distinct threat to its business, given the vulnerabilities of the coffee crop to heat, weather, disease and pests. To combat these threats, Starbucks opened a lab in Costa Rica earlier this year. At that lab, which is located on the company’s Costa Rican Hacienda, “the Starbucks team is creating new coffee varieties, testing disease-resistant coffee trees and developing and sharing agricultural practices to produce a higher yield and ensure the future of coffee,” according to the company website.

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