Meet the CTO: Deb Hall Lefevre leads tech for Starbucks

Former McDonald’s long-time tech leader Deb Hall Lefevre joins Starbucks as Chief Technology Officer, to strengthen the coffee chain’s tech offerings

Tech leader Deb Hall Lefevre has joined Starbucks, to take up the role of Chief Technology Officer and EVP.

Taking over from Hans Melotte, who served as interim CTO for five months, Deb will lead the tech function for the coffee retailer’s more than 30,000 stores and 400,000 employees, ensuring delivery of digital partner and customer experiences.

Starbucks to strengthen its tech offerings

This comes as CEO Howard Schultz – who returned recently to the Seattle coffee giant for the third time ­– looks to strengthen the coffee chain’s tech offerings, and in particular explores changes to the company’s drive-thru, mobile order-and-pay and other systems.  

According to a Starbucks spokesperson, changes are likely to include increasing personalisation in the company’s mobile app for customers, as well as improvements to systems for employee training, scheduling and equipment maintenance to free up baristas to spend more time with customers.

By bringing on board a CTO with experience in restaurants and retail, as Deb has, Starbucks hopes to ensure digital transactions run more smoothly, something that has become key during the pandemic with more focus on mobile apps and digital payments.

Deb Hall Lefevre – driving technology innovation for restaurants and retail

With nearly 30 years in senior IT leadership, Deb has a long track record of delivering impactful results through high-performing teams, industry-leading strategies, large-scale, global digital and information technology initiatives and strong collaboration.

Deb joins Starbucks from Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc, the global operator of Circle K and other convenience stores, where she led a digital transformation as CTO, responsible for the global technology and digital strategy and execution across a network of around 15,500 locations and 125,000 employees.

She simplified, standardised and digitised Circle K’s IT systems, and helped the retailer consolidate service desk functions, implement a network-wide intranet and launch HR management software Workday to simplify employee benefits and training. She also launched trials of automated checkout systems at stores in Arizona.

Prior to this, she spent more than 16 years at McDonald’s, driving technology innovation for the fast-food giant’s 14,000 US restaurants. She held several positions in IT, most recently as corporate VP and CIO, leading McDonald’s technology and digital commerce strategy.

She established McDonald’s digital commerce strategy resulting in the launch of the first mobile app, the largest technology deployment in company history, and also introduced kiosks where customers place their own orders, and initiated nationwide digital menu boards.

Deb began her career at Motorola in 1989, and over 13 years held various IT and ecommerce roles. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Processing from Southern Illinois University.

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