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Starbucks Promotes CFO Alstead to Operations Chief

Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz is handing over day-to-day operations to the company’s chief financial officer.

Troy Alstead, 50, will be promoted to chief operating officer effective Feb. 3, Seattle-based Starbucks said in a statement. Schultz will focus more on “next-generation retailing,” digital and mobile payments, the company’s loyalty program and electronic commerce.

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee-shop chain, has outperformed rivals lately and last week reported quarterly profit that rose 25 percent, surpassing analysts’ estimates. The coffee company has been advertising seasonal beverages, higher-quality baked goods and opening Teavana stores across the Americas to maintain its sales growth.

Alstead, who will continue to report to Schultz, has worked for Starbucks for 22 years and has held senior leadership roles on the company’s international teams. Schultz, 60, returned to Starbucks in 2008 as CEO and helped revive the company after it expanded too quickly and suffered through the economic downturn.

Starbucks sees an opportunity to do more with its rewards program, as well as digital and mobile payments, Schultz said on a webcast without expanding. The management changes aren’t related to succession or him leaving the company, he said.

“I don’t think Howard is going anywhere anytime soon,” Marc Riddick, a New York-based analyst at Williams Capital Group, said in a phone interview.

Alstead’s promotion “certainly shows the level of conviction Howard has in Troy,” he said.

Scott Maw, 46, who serves as senior vice president of corporate finance, will succeed Alstead as CFO, Starbucks said.

The shares fell 3.2 percent to $71.56 at the close in New York yesterday and surged 46 percent last year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 30 percent in 2013.

Starbucks has more than 20,000 locations worldwide.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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