Rachel Ruggeri, 52, is proof that the CFO role is changing at large U.S. companies. After nearly two decades of moving up the ranks at Starbucks, she was appointed the coffee giant's top finance officer in early 2021. As the company’s third CFO in as many years, her promotion not only adds to the record number of women now holding top finance jobs in the S&P 500, but it also paves the way for others in the future.
Ruggeri, whose favorite Starbucks beverage is a grande iced triple espresso with extra, extra ice, first joined the Seattle-based company in 2001. She arrived on the job with solid credentials, having earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Puget Sound and an MBA from Washington State University. In terms of experience, prior to Starbucks she worked in a number of different fields, including as a community college instructor, and later took a role as an accountant in the public sector supporting a local municipality.
At Starbucks, Ruggeri began her long tenure as a member of the accounting team. Notably, during her first year, she had the responsibility of helping to launch the first Starbucks Card, which was the foundation for the company’s digital engagement platform. Following this smashing success, she continued to move up the chain.
During her tenure at Starbucks, Ruggeri has held a variety of finance positions, largely within the U.S. business. In 2010, she was promoted to VP of Corporate Finance and Planning. Most recently, she served as the SVP of Americas, where she was responsible for the retail portfolio across the segment, including company-operated and licensed/franchised stores.
In February 2021, her career path led to the coveted CFO role for one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Ruggeri reports directly to CEO Kevin Johnson, and is responsible for the company's global finance function, which includes developing and executing the financial strategies that enable the long-term growth of the ubiquitous coffee empire.
In addition to her time at Starbucks, Ruggeri served a brief stint as the SVP and CFO of Continental Mills from August 2018 to May 2020. In that position, the seasoned financial veteran was responsible for finance, accounting, and information resources for the company.
Besides her work, Ruggeri is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys running, hiking, and other activities available in the great Northwest. Furthermore, she is a strong advocate for animal rescue. Over the years, she has supported the Utah/Idaho Vizsla Rescue and the Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, as well as many other great rescues across the country.