Starbucks Appoints ex Adobe Executive as 1st Ever CTO

Endaba Group

Former Adobe Chief Information Officer officer Gerri Martin-Flickinger is now the coffee brand’s newly created Chief Technology Officer. Martin-Flickinger will report to the Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson and will be a part of Starbuck’s senior leadership team.

Martin-Flickinger will play a key role in shaping the technology agenda across the Starbucks business. Recently, in her role at Adobe, she oversaw their global IT team and was key in enabling Adobe’s transformation into a cloud-based business. Her technical expertise  and experience with transformational change will help Starbucks shape their global technology agenda and the next phase of innovation and growth.

Starbucks’ focus on technology is apparent from its recent initiatives, including its Mobile Order and Pay app feature, which boosts sales and velocity of orders. They hopped on the digital bandwagon early and is among the leaders in using technology in a retail setting. They were one of the first to sign up with Apple Pay and partnered with google to offer WiFi in store. Consumers are increasingly interested in smartphone payments and push marketing, and their pre-ordering capability is helping drive engagement and relevance.

The technological evolution of FMCG brands which aren’t traditionally aligned with technology is becoming fairly standard practice. Most businesses today still run their technology and marketing departments separately. Technology wasn’t given much importance due to reluctance and lack of knowledge, however, as social ecommerce grows and applications advance, it’s logical to invest in it now. However, it is important to create this extra chair on the board, as companies need a system in place to predict how technology will develop.

Whilst Costa, Starbucks’ direct competitor, does not have a Chief Technology officer, other FMCG business like Coca-Cola, Red Bull and Nestlé do.