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Starbucks taps Hyatt financial chief to be its new CFO

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Starbucks taps Hyatt financial chief to be its new CFO
A pedestrian walks past a Starbucks cafe in central Wellington, New Zealand September 3, 2018. REUTERS/Charlotte Greenfield   -   Copyright  CHARLOTTE GREENFIELD(Reuters)
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By Siddharth Cavale

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp <SBUX.O> on Monday named Hyatt Hotels Corp’s <H.N> financial chief Patrick Grismer as its new chief financial officer, making another leadership change in the past year as it battles intense competition in a cooling U.S. coffee market.

Grismer’s appointment completes a three-month search for a new finance chief since current CFO Scott Maw announced plans to retire in June.

Maw’s announcement coincided with Executive Chairman and former Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz’s departure from the company, who built Starbucks into a global powerhouse over four decades.

Battling heavy competition from rivals, including high-end coffee shops and affordable fast-food chains, the company said in a memo last month that it would undergo an organizational restructuring that would see leadership changes, job losses and role expansions.

Grismer, currently serving as CFO of Hyatt Hotels, will join Starbucks on Nov. 12 and will take the role after Maw retires on Nov. 30, Starbucks said in a statement.

“As a seasoned CFO of multiple global, consumer-facing growth companies, (Patrick) brings tremendous finance expertise, a customer-centric mindset and a wealth of restaurant industry experience to Starbucks,” company CEO Kevin Johnson said in the statement.

Prior to joining Hyatt, Grismer held a variety of leadership positions at companies including KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants owner Yum Brands Inc <YUM.N>, where he was CFO. He also worked at The Walt Disney Co <DIS.N> in finance and strategy roles over a ten year period, Starbucks said.

“We know Mr. Grismer from his time serving as YUMCFO from May 2012-February 2016 and have mixed feelings about his appointment,” Cowen analysts said in a note pointing to Yum’s stagnant stock price during his tenure as CFO.

The analysts, however, said his tenure at Hyatt has been more fruitful, where total shareholder returns have risen 58 percent.

Maw, who has been CFO since Feb. 2014, will remain a senior consultant through March 2019 to ensure a smooth transition, the company said.

Starbucks shares, which are down 9 percent this year, were up nearly 1 percent in morning trading.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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