NEW YORK (AP) -- Starbucks Corp. is making management changes it says will give its top leaders deeper experience with the company.
The world's biggest coffee chain declined to say whether the changes were part of succession planning for Howard Schultz, who returned as CEO in 2008 and has since led a turnaround of the company.
John Culver, head of the China and Asia Pacific region, was named to the newly created role of group president of China and Asia Pacific, channel development and emerging brands.
Cliff Burrows, head of the Americas, was named to the newly created role of group president of the Americas and U.S., Europe, Middle East and Africa and Teavana.
Also among the changes is a new head for its struggling European division.
Michelle Gass, who headed to the Europe, Middle East and Africa, is returning to the U.S. to work on strategic initiatives for growth. The European division will now be headed Kris Engskov, the managing director for the United Kingdom.