US-based coffeehouse chain Starbucks Coffee Company has announced the promotion of Molly Liu as the new co-CEO and executive vice-president of Starbucks China.

Liu’s new role will come into effect from 2 October.

Liu first joined Starbucks in 2012 and has worked in various leadership roles.

Since 2021, Liu has been serving as the chief operating officer (COO) of Starbucks China.

Prior to her appointment as COO, Liu worked as the company’s digital ventures organisation vice president.

As Starbucks’ digital ventures head, Liu laid the foundation of the company’s “digital flywheel” in the market.

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She also headed the launch of digital ordering services – “Starbucks Delivers” and “Starbucks Now”, both of which have contributed to a 48% sales growth in China in the third quarter of fiscal year 2023.

Liu also established the “Starbucks Rewards” programme, with more than 20 million active members.

Liu said: “It’s an honour to lead Starbucks China in this moment as we strengthen our focus on the experiences we create for our partners (employees) and customers.

“Belinda and I have worked together for over a decade and I’m excited to be partnering with her in this role as we continue to deepen the moments of human connection with our Chinese customers.”

As the new co-CEO and executive vice-president, Liu will work with Starbucks China chairwoman and CEO Belinda Wong to achieve the company’s goal of operating 9,000 stores across 300 cities by 2025.

Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan said: “Molly is a strong leader who has been instrumental in elevating the Starbucks Experience for our Chinese customers and driving industry-leading innovation for our China business.

“There remains tremendous opportunity for Starbucks in China and I am confident that together, Belinda and Molly will lead Starbucks through our next chapter while living our mission and values.”