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Gerri Martin-Flickinger
Gerri Martin-Flickinger

[Update, Oct. 8: Starbucks had a CTO for a short time in 2008; this post has been updated to reflect that fact.]

Starbucks has found a new leader for its global technology team, with an unexpected twist. Gerri Martin-Flickinger, most recently Adobe Systems’ chief information officer, will be joining the Seattle-based coffee giant as Starbucks’ new chief technology officer.

The company’s hiring of Martin-Flickinger completes Starbucks’ search for a successor to Curt Garner, who in June announced his decision to leave his position as chief information officer. In an internal email today, Starbucks COO Kevin Johnson said the decision to name Martin-Flickinger the company’s CTO, rather than its CIO, signals broader aspirations for the technology leadership role.

“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 to also contribute her expertise to help shape the global strategy and the technical architecture that we are building to power Starbucks into the future,” Johnson wrote.

Martin-Flickinger will work with other Starbucks 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 lead by (chief digital officer) Adam Brotman and the personalization initiative led by (global chief strategy officer) Matt Ryan,” wrote Johnson.

It’s another sign of Starbucks boosting its focus on technology and expanding its reach. The company has rolled out Mobile Order and Pay in the U.S. and UK, and plans to pilot coffee and food delivery starting later this year.

Kevin Johnson, Starbucks President and COO.
Kevin Johnson, Starbucks President and COO.

Johnson himself also reflects this broader focus on technology at Starbucks. The former Microsoft divisional president and Juniper Networks CEO was named Starbucks’ president and chief operating officer earlier this year.

Martin-Flickinger is a Pacific Northwest native and graduate of Washington State University who worked as CIO of VeriSign prior to joining Adobe in 2007 as CIO and senior vice president. Among other accomplishments, she’s credited with helping to lead Adobe’s shift to cloud-based services. Her previous experience includes working for Network Associates, McAfee and Chevron.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with an amazing team at Adobe, and I look forward to taking this next step in my career as I assume the role of chief technology officer at Starbucks, a brand that I love,”said Martin-Flickinger in a news release announcing her new role. “The Pacific Northwest is where I was raised, so I am pleased to be returning there. I am thrilled to be joining the strong team already in place at Starbucks.”

Johnson wrote in the internal email, “We wanted someone who is both an experienced business leader and a great technologist. As we shape the agenda for our future, experience in key technologies, including cloud computing, big data analytics, mobile and security are key.”

Martin-Flickinger and chief digital officer Brotman will both report to Johnson. Starbucks CIO Garner’s last day with the company will be Nov. 22.

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