Starbucks hires chiefs for expansion drive

US coffee company Starbucks has appointed two top-level chiefs, including its first marketing director, as it plots aggressive expansion into Europe and the Middle East.

The 85-strong café chain has hired Mike Sweeney, former Blockbuster (US) executive, as its new UK president. Colgate Palmolive’s Helen Benedict will be marketing director.

Scott Svenson, former UK president, becomes European president and will head the company’s expansion on the continent and into the Middle East.

Svenson joined Starbucks last year after it bought the Seattle Coffee Company, which he founded with his wife Ally. The chain, bought for 49m, is in the process of being rebranded as Starbucks.

Benedict, who takes up her role at the end of the month, is associate director with Colgate Palmolive’s category innovations centre and was formerly marketing manager for oral care.

Starbucks is in the process of reviewing its marketing and may look for an advertising agency to help it build its business.

Svenson says: “Traditionally, we have not spent money above the line but we’re looking at our strategy. We have been focusing inwards and developing the UK business but we are now planning to take the concept into Europe and the Middle East.”

The burgeoning coffee market is likely to undergo a major shake-up following fast-food giant McDonald’s purchase of the Aroma chain.

Cover Story, page 28

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