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Starbucks Names Under Armour Exec to Creative Director Post

Starbucks has named Leanne Fremar, a former Under Armour executive, as senior vice president, executive creative director.Starbucks has named Leanne Fremar, a former Under Armour executive, as senior vice president, executive creative director.
Starbucks has named Leanne Fremar, a former Under Armour executive, as senior vice president, executive creative director.Courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks has named former Under Armour executive Leanne Fremar to the coffee giant’s creative director role, where she will oversee some of the company’s more premium offerings.

On Thursday, Starbucks (SBUX) announced that Fremar will lead the creative development of all Starbucks global brand initiatives and marketing campaigns, including digital marketing, packaging, and oversight of the brand, as well as marketing for the Roastery concept stores and the rare, small-batch Reserve coffees. She will also lead a team of more than 100 people who work at the company’s creative studio in Seattle.

Fremar will start her new job in October, beginning with a three-week training window that includes work as a store barista and a “coffee immersion spanning the globe,” Starbucks added.

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Most recently, Fremar served as creative director for Under Armour’s (UA) women’s and concept divisions. She also has held senior positions at Gucci Group and Ralph Lauren, (RL) and began her career in New York City at The Museum of Modern Art.

The appointment comes a few days after Starbucks reorganized some of the company’s senior leadership roles, pivoting to focus more on long-term strategy and innovation after an emphasis on digital technology. Starbucks has made impressive progress on the digital side, steadily adding new loyalty program users and convincing a growing number of people to use their mobile devices to make purchases and place orders for pickup.

There were signs earlier this month that a pivot might be in order. Last week, Starbucks reported that its impressive winning streak—25 straight quarters of comparable-store sales growth of 5% or greater in the U.S.—had come to end, as a change to the coffee giant’s rewards program hurt a popular Frappuccino promotion. That led to some worries about the company’s growth in the important U.S. market, though executives promised the disappointing growth was an “anomaly.”