Laxman Narasimhan, the new CEO of Starbucks, plans to be a hands-on leader as he takes over the reins of the coffee chain from Howard Schultz. Since being named interim CEO in October, Narasimhan has been working hard to learn everything about the company, including what it’s like to work as a barista.
Narasimhan even earned a barista certification, which requires 40 hours of in-store training.
“The past six months of my immersion into the company have been shaped by so many of you who have taught me about our very special culture at Starbucks,” Narasimhan wrote in a letter to employees. “With you, I’ve experienced every aspect of the business to learn what it truly means to wear the green apron. You’ve welcomed me into our stores, trained me in how to be a barista … all to help me deeply understand what we do, how we do it, and the challenges and opportunities facing us.”
Narasimhan doesn’t plan to stop working at coffee shops now that he’s officially the CEO. In the letter, he told employees that he plans to work at least one shift a month as a barista.
“To keep us close to the culture and our customers, as well as to our challenges and opportunities, I intend to continue working in stores for a half day each month,” he wrote.