Starbucks, the global coffee chain, has announced that Darcy Willson-Rymer, its current UK managing director is to step down in September, and will be replaced by Kris Engskov, the group’s current regional vice president of its US Pacific Northwest region. The company, which operates 717 sites in the UK, said that Willson-Rymer, who has been its managing director for the UK & Ireland since August 2008, is to step down in mid-September to pursue another opportunity outside of Starbucks. Willson-Rymer, who joined the chain in 2007, oversaw seven consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth as managing director and also helped to develop the company’s joint venture business opportunities and community partnerships. Engskov, which has been with Starbucks for nine years and previously worked within the company’s UK operations in 2005, will become the new senior vice president and managing director for the UK & Ireland. Prior to his current role, he also served in senior management positions in both the US and Europe, including a time as managing director of Starbucks Coffee Switzerland and Austria. He spent the majority of his early career in public service and from 1993 to 2000 and served in the Clinton White House as an assistant press secretary and as personal aide to the President Bill Clinton. Before joining Starbucks, Engskov worked for Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based venture capital fund. John Culver, president of Starbucks Coffee International, said: “The UK & Ireland present significant opportunities for Starbucks. Kris brings a great deal of operational and public affairs experience to the role, and is an ideal candidate to continue the momentum Starbucks has achieved in this region. The addition of Kris to the team is a further sign of our commitment to international markets as a key growth engine for the company. “Darcy’s passion, commitment and leadership have been a driving force in the UK & Ireland. We are grateful for his contributions to Starbucks and wish him well in his future endeavours.” Full-year losses at the UK arm of coffee giant Starbucks narrowed during its most recent financial year on the back of cost-saving initiatives, product launches and store openings. The company reported a pre-tax loss of £34.22m for the year to 3 October 2010, down from £52.22m the previous 12 months. Turnover for the year increased by 2% from £388.26m to £396.28m, while the group’s operating loss narrowed from £41.35m to £25.73m.