Brewing business success: Douglas Macdonald CA

By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

28 September 2018

Ahead of World Coffee Day on 1 October, we hear from Douglas Macdonald CA, previously Vice President of Finance, now VP of Strategic Business Transformation (EMEA) for Starbucks Coffee Company.

What attracted you to the finance role?

The opportunity to influence and lead the strategic direction of the business. Also the chance to support a major business turnaround strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), which is proving to be highly successful.

Which part of your job are you most passionate about?

Driving profitable growth and using that increased scale to improve the lives of farmers in the coffee-growing regions of the world and invest back in young people through our hiring programmes - as well as providing good returns to our shareholders.

What has been your greatest achievement?

Being part of the team that helped navigate Starbucks into profit. We made mistakes on the way, but ultimately keeping true to our values has made the business stronger and consequently more profitable in EMEA than ever before.

Who has been your inspiration?

My children. They make everything I do have true meaning and are my True North in a world that is increasingly hard to navigate.

What challenges do you feel are unique to the food industry?

Sourcing the best quality commodities from around the world (coffee being the most obvious one for us) presents unique and complex challenges. Weather, harvest, crop pests, political instability, currency fluctuations and supply chains all need to work in our favour in order to bring the right product into stores for our customers’ enjoyment. That’s no easy task.

People (we call them partners) are the other key ingredient. People who are bright, energetic and who can interact well with customers and make their day just a little better are another sought-after resource.

How has the CA qualification benefited your career?

Being a CA is a phenomenal gateway to a career in almost any industry you might be passionate about and provides a valuable passport to work in many international environments.

However, there is no substitute for learning and experience relevant to your chosen career path in making you a true business partner to the teams you serve.


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