Starbucks’ Mobile Strength Spurs New Chief Tech Hire

Starbucks is amping up its mobile tech game with the appointment of tech industry veteran Gerri Martin-Flickinger as its new chief technology officer.

Before accepting the position at Starbucks, Martin-Flickinger worked as the senior vice president and chief information officer at Adobe and led Adobe’s transition to its new cloud-based business model, Starbucks said in a press release.

As the first CTO of the company, Martin-Flickinger will be replacing Starbucks Chief Information Officer Curt Garner, who is expected to leave Starbucks next month.


Starbucks CTO Gerri Martin-Flickinger

In an email sent to employees, Starbucks COO Kevin Johnson reflected on the company’s broader plan to expand and reinforce its technological infrastructure.

“You will note that I have given her the title of CTO versus the CIO title of the past,” Johnson said. “This is a reflection of the fact that I am looking for Gerri to not only be a great leader of our global IT function but also to contribute her expertise to help shape the global strategy and technical architecture that we are building to power Starbucks into the future.”

In the email, Johnson said Martin-Flickinger will work with other executives “to ensure our technology agenda supports our growing core business while at the same enables several key strategic initiatives including the digital consumer experience [led] by [Chief Digital Officer] Adam Brotman and the personalization initiative led by [Global Chief Strategy Officer] Matt Ryan.”

While Martin-Flickinger inherits an already well-built digital operation, with offerings like the Starbucks app that shot the company’s stock value up by 50 percent this year, she will be dealing with building the tech infrastructure for the Seattle, WA-based company’s expansion plans.

After its success in the coffee industry and expansion into new markets like India and Vietnam, the company is now looking to move into the $109 billion tea industry with its new product range called Teavana. The company is also looking to expand its digital footprint with new enrollments in loyalty programs and further expansion of its Mobile Order & Pay service, which lets users order and pay before arriving at the store.

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