Roz Brewer, chief operating officer at Starbucks, is stepping down from her position next month to take a job as the CEO of another publicly traded company, the Seattle-based coffee giant announced on Tuesday.
Brewer was named CEO of the pharmacy retailer Walgreens later on Tuesday.
Her return to the top job at a corporation is not a surprise. Brewer has been with Starbucks since 2017, when she came to the company from Sam’s Club, where she had been CEO.
As Starbucks’ chief operating officer, Brewer leads the company’s operating business in the U.S., Canada and Latin America and has become an increasingly prominent figure at the company. She helped further integrate technology into the chain’s stores, including using artificial intelligence to free labor hours so employees can work with customers.
The efforts helped the company’s coffee shops return to transaction growth after a period of weakness largely blamed on service challenges related to the influx of customers ordering through Starbucks’ smartphone app.
Brewer’s departure will represent the second major executive to leave Starbucks in recent weeks, following the recent announcement that CFO Patrick Grismer is leaving the company.
Brewer is one of the most prominent Black is executives in the U.S., and certainly in a restaurant business that has seen the departure of several Black chief executives in recent years.
Brewer will leave Starbucks effective Feb. 26. The company said in a federal securities filing that Rossann Williams, president of the chain’s U.S. company operated business, will assume responsibility for the company’s U.S. licensed stores. Brady Brewer, the company’s chief marketing officer, will lead technology, analytics and insights.