New Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan has said he wants to lead “a different kind of company” that cares about its frontline employees, prior to the coffee chain’s annual meeting.
In a letter to employees, Narasimhan said that while Starbucks’ performance was robust, the company must improve its health. “We must care for” customer-facing employees, he wrote.
“We strive to be a different kind of company operating in a different kind of world,” he said, adding that Starbucks intends to “reinvigorate” its employee culture.
His remarks came a day after workers at 100 Starbucks locations across the United States walked off the job, and a video posted by the union on social media showed hundreds of protesters marching in front of company headquarters.
The former PepsiCo and Reckitt Benckiser executive, who joined the company in October, took over on Monday after Howard Schultz resigned from his third tenure as CEO of the coffee chain he helped transform into a global behemoth.
Politicians and shareholders are becoming increasingly concerned about Narasimhan’s company’s contentious history with labor unions.
The business has stated that it adheres to U.S. labor law. It has accused the union of failing to bargain in good faith and the National Labor Relations Board of unfairly favoring the union during elections.