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J Crew poaches Starbucks digital guru to boost turnaround

Struggling US retailer J Crew has appointed veteran Starbucks executive Adam Brotman to the new role of chief experience officer to boost its turnaround plans.

According to reports, Brotman, who will also take on the role of president, is understood to be joining the retailer in mid-March, with a brief to make the ailing brand more “meaningful and relevant” to how its customers shop and live.

In his most recent role for the coffee giant, Brotman, who has been with the Seattle-based chain for nine years, has been charged with leading its retail strategy but he is widely known for positioning Starbucks as a digital pioneer during his time as chief digital officer.

He oversaw the launch of successful digital projects including mobile order and pay, the Starbucks card, e-commerce, Wifi, loyalty and the Starbuck Digital Network. By the end of 2017, mobile orders accounted for 11% of all transactions in its US stores.

Brotman’s appointment comes as J Crew creative director Jenna Lyons leaves the business and chief executive Micky Drexler steps down to become chairman. New chief executive Jim Brett is spearheading a turnaround of the retailer.

For the three months to 29 April 2017, the retailer saw a net loss of $123.3m (£97m) as sales at the J Crew brand slumped by 11%. It has yet to published its fourth quarter results.

Commenting on Brotman’s appointment in a statement to Recode, Brett said: “Adam’s experience in global field operations and cutting-edge consumer facing digital platforms would make him an invaluable in shaping and driving J Crew’s group strategic initiatives to the next level.”


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