Starbucks has revealed that Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw will retire at the end of November. According to Reuters, the surprise departure sent the coffee shop chain’s shares down 2.61 percent. Maw has been the company’s CFO for four years after being promoted to the position in February 2014.
The Seattle-based company said in a regulatory filing that it had launched an external search for a replacement for Maw, who will become a senior consultant until March 31, 2019.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement, “As we enter our next phase of continued growth, I am confident in the finance team Scott has developed and am appreciative of his willingness to support through the transition into new leadership,”
This is Starbucks’ second recent high-profile departure. Earlier this month, it was reported that Howard Schultz was stepping down as executive chairman and a member of the company’s board of directors. He became chairman emeritus as of June 26.
“I set out to build a company that my father, a blue-collar worker and World War II veteran, never had a chance to work for,” Schultz wrote in a letter to the company’s current and former employees. “Together we’ve done that, and so much more, by balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility.”
For his part, Maw's first two years as CFO led to an increase in comparable store sales growth, with Starbucks consistently topping Wall Street earnings forecasts. But, as Reuters points out, the coffee chain fell short of analyst estimates for same-store sales in the Americas region in five of the last six quarters.
Though one analyst reported that Maw’s decision was "of a personal nature," Bernstein Senior Research Analyst Sara Senatore wrote in a research note that "the sudden nature of this announcement, and Maw’s relatively young age and tenure in his role, suggest the decision [to] leave was perhaps not entirely voluntary. While a new CFO may bring greater experience in the types of capital allocation strategies we have advocated, the fundamentals of the business need to at least stabilize, and the responsibility for that lies with SBUX’s CEO and COO."