Starbucks new CEO Laxman Narasimhan to work as a barista in stores every month

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Starbucks‘ new CEO of Indian descent Laxman Narasimhan has said he will work as one barista once a month in the stores to stay close to the company culture, customers, challenges and opportunities. Narasimhan, 55, officially became the CEO of the Seattle-based coffee giant on Monday, taking over from Howard Schultz about two weeks ahead of schedule.

He was welcomed as Starbucks-emerging CEO with a coffee tasting at the place where it all began – at the Pike Place Market Store in Seattle.

In a letter to employees on Thursday, the Indian-American businessman said he will always be a “fierce advocate” for the company’s partners and its culture.

“With you, I experienced every aspect of the business to learn what it really means to wear the green apron. You welcomed me to our stores, trained me to be a barista…all to make me feel deeply help us understand what we do, how we do it and the challenges and opportunities we face,” he wrote.

Barista is a person who serves in a coffee shop.

“To keep us close to the culture and our customers, as well as our challenges and opportunities, I plan to continue working in stores for half a day each month,” he told CNN.

“I thought it was really important for me to put myself in the shoes of the partners and really understand what they do and how they do it. There were things I learned through experience in all of this. I learned a lot from it ,” he said in a statement.

Born in Pune Narasimhan joined Starbucks as an interim Director in October and has since spent time getting to know the company — including earning a barista certification, which requires 40 hours of in-store training.

He also discussed how he plans to continue the reinvention plan Schultz laid out this summer.

“As Starbucks’ new CEO, I am confident that I know our company and our people well, but I will continue to learn and I am excited to continue earning my green apron every day,” said Narasimhan.

Starbucks has invested more than $1 billion in modernizing training, improving equipment and increasing wages and adding other benefits for non-union employees to modernize the brand and make it more relevant, the report said.

“With our reinvention plan introduced last year, we continue to focus on improving the store, the customer and of course the partner experience,” Narasimhan wrote, using the word “partner” to refer to an employee, as Starbucks does .

“It is critical that we revitalize our culture around what it means to be a partner at Starbucks,” he added.

Schultz said that when he got to know Narasimhan, he was struck by his experience and leadership skills.

“I know we’ll be in good hands and I can promise you he’s going to make us a better company,” he said.

Narasimhan was most recently CEO of Reckitt, a UK-based consumer health, hygiene and nutrition company that makes Lysol cleaner and Enfamil formula, among others.

Prior to that, he held several leadership positions at PepsiCo, including Global Chief Commercial Officer. He also served as CEO of the company’s operations in Latin America, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

He takes over a company with significant strengths. Starbucks reported record demand in the April-June period as strong sales in the US offset ongoing closures in China, the company’s second largest market.

But Starbucks also has challenges. It is trying to counter a wave of unionization. That effort was ugly at times and cast a shadow over Starbucks’ reputation as a forward-thinking company.

Union workers hope Narasimhan will be more receptive to the union than Schultz, who has led the company’s anti-union efforts since becoming interim CEO last year, the report said.

“We are hopeful that Laxman Narasimhan will chart a new path with the union and work with us to make Starbucks the company we know it can be,” Michelle Eisen, a Starbucks employee and union organizer, said this week. in a statement.

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