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Starbucks hires former Target exec Arthur Valdez to lead supply operations

Valdez’s appointment comes as Starbucks continues to experience supply chain disruption across its vast global store portfolio, with CEO Laxman Narasimhan seeking to reduce packaging shortages and streamline coffee cup sourcing 

Arthur Valdez, Executive Vice President, Global Supply and Customer Solutions | Photo credit: Starbucks


Starbucks has appointed former Target executive Arthur Valdez as Executive Vice President, Global Supply and Customer Solutions. 

Valdez previously served as Chief Supply Chain and Logistics Officer at US discount retail giant Target from 2016-2022. 

In an update to its leadership webpage, Starbucks recognised Valdez’ three decades of supply chain and logistics leadership and vast experience in the fields of inventory management, retail store operational efficiency, manufacturing and distribution. 

Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan said Valdez will ‘cultivate an internal reserve of talent for managing supply chain and customer solutions as Starbucks grows globally’, according to a statement sent to employees and seen by various US news outlets. 

Like most hospitality businesses, Starbucks experienced supply chain disruption during the pandemic. However, while sales and footfall soon returned to pre-pandemic levels, the Seattle-based coffee chain has continued to experience shortages with packaging materials across its 36,600 global stores, with Narasimhan highlighting the issue as recently as May 2023. 

Having immersed himself in the business since becoming CEO in March 2023, Narasimhan said working alongside baristas in stores and visiting manufacturing plants had highlighted the need to ‘buy different and buy better’, particularly in relation to coffee cups. 

“Currently, we have over 1,500 cup-and-lid combinations across our network. As we streamline, we will create a portfolio of fewer, more sustainable, and less costly cups while further simplifying operations in our stores. We can buy different, and we can buy better. Our end-to-end supply chain has significant opportunities to reduce cost and improve availability,” Narasimhan said during a second quarter earnings call. 

Conceding that Starbucks was ‘out of stock in more items than we would like’, Narasimhan added that the coffee giant was exploring the cost effectiveness of segmenting supply chain operations and adopting a more ‘format-specific approach’. 

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