Starbucks recruits Vanda Pharmaceuticals’ A.J. Jones to lead global comms

Jones is joining the coffee giant in a newly created role.

Starbucks recruits Vanda Pharmaceuticals’ A.J. Jones to lead global comms

SEATTLE: Starbucks has hired Aranthan “A.J.” Jones II in the newly created role of SVP of global communications and public affairs, effective on October 25. 

He’ll report to Gina Woods, EVP of public affairs and social impact. Jones will lead global communications, international comms, partner communications, corporate comms, Starbucks Stories, marketing integration and entertainment teams worldwide. He will support the company’s growth agenda, creating narratives about the coffee giant’s products, partners, customers and social impact.

Jones’ future job responsibilities are now distributed among other staffers, with Woods primarily taking on what will be his duties, according to a Starbucks representative. 

Among those who will report to Jones (pictured below) are Jaime Riley, VP of global comms; Marianne Duong, VP of international comms; and three roles yet to be filled: a VP for Starbucks Stories and marketing integration, a VP of internal comms and a senior administrative assistant.

Jones comes from Vanda Pharmaceuticals, which hired him as chief corporate affairs and communications officer in August 2019. Vanda has not identified his successor. C-suite executives will share his former duties until a search is conducted, and Elizabeth Van Every, head of corporate affairs, will take on additional PR, ESG and corporate comms responsibilities, Jones said. 

Prior to Vanda, Jones worked at BCW as chairman and EVP of the corporate and financial practice for North America before his promotion to EVP and head of the global public affairs practice. He previously led policy and communications for philanthropic organization the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and was the head of worldwide government affairs for Gilead Sciences.  

Jones has also worked at the Podesta Group and as policy director in the Office of Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC).

In its fiscal Q3 2021, Starbucks reported net revenue of $7.5 billion, up 78% compared to the prior year when COVID-19 adversely impacted sales, with comparable store sales up 73%.  

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