Amazon names Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer as director, diversifying previously all-white board
Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, chief operating officer at Starbucks, has joined Amazon’s board of directors, the Seattle tech giant announced today.
Brewer, who was the first woman and first black chief operating officer at Starbucks, becomes the second black woman to join the Amazon board. Amazon currently has six men and four women on the 10-member board. With the exception of Brewer, all of Amazon’s board members are white. Pharmaceutical executive Myrtle Potter was the first black woman to serve on the Amazon board, from 2004 to 2009.
Brewer, the former Sam’s Club CEO, ranks No. 33 on Fortune’s list of the world’s most powerful women.
Last year, facing an employee backlash and public criticism from black and Hispanic members of Congress, Amazon adopted a new policy to consider “a slate of diverse candidates, including women and minorities” for future openings on its board. The company said at the time that it was merely formalizing its existing practice. Corporations are increasingly being called upon to increase board diversity.
Brewer is also a director at Starbucks, where she became COO in October 2017 and leads the company’s operating businesses across the Americas, in addition to global functions of supply chain, product innovation, and store development organizations, according to Starbucks.
She is “a perfect example of the extraordinary minority and female talent that exists in corporate America, that is all too often excluded from the boardroom and the C-Suite,” said U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, co-chair of the House Tech Accountability Caucus and a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement.
Kelly joined other members of the House Tech Accountability Caucus in pushing Amazon to diversify its board last year. She added that Brewer’s appointment “serves as an example to other industry leaders regarding the positive economic, business, innovation and inclusion benefits offered by increasing board diversity, especially to companies leading the way in our modern innovation economy.”
Prior to Starbucks, Brewer was CEO at Sam’s Club, the members-only retail arm of Walmart, from 2012 to 2017. She was also previously a director at Lockheed Martin.
Brewer was awarded with 570 shares of common stock as part of her election that will vest in three equal annual installments beginning Feb. 15, 2020. Shares of Amazon ended Monday at $1,633. She was also named to the leadership development and compensation committee of the board.
She replaces John Seely Brown, a former chief scientist at Xerox Corp. who joined in 2004 and did not stand for reelection. Amazon’s other board directors are CEO Jeff Bezos; Tom Alberg; Jamie Gorelick; Daniel Huttenlocher; Judith McGrath; Jonathan Rubinstein; Thomas Ryder; Patricia Stonesifer; and Wendell Weeks.