As chief executive officer of Starbucks China, Leo Tsoi oversees Starbucks business in the Chinese mainland, spearheading the company’s robust growth in its largest and fastest-growing international market through the relentless pursuit of its growth at scale agenda. He is also a member of Starbucks global executive leadership team, contributing his rich field knowledge in China to the company’s global decision making.
A longtime Starbucks partner, Leo rejoined Starbucks in 2012 and has been one of the leading architects behind the company’s phenomenal growth in China. He leads Starbucks efforts to deepen and widen its retail footprint across China, where the brand currently operates over 5,400 stores across more than 210 Chinese cities. Starbucks continues to accelerate the customer experience in China, opening more than 650 stores a year towards its goal of operating 6,000 stores in 230 cities by 2022, and enhancing digital offerings to create new occasions for customers across the market.
Leo is focused on transforming Starbucks portfolio by reimagining the third-place experience and curating elevated coffee-inspired destinations. Under his leadership, Starbucks has pioneered new and locally relevant store concepts, including its first flagship store in China; stores catering to customers on-the-go, called Starbucks Now; the Heritage Culture Gallery Store, which exhibits traditional ethnic minority artwork; as well as the Co-Working Space Concept Store that creatively reinterprets the second and third places. Starbucks also furthered its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion with the introduction of Signing stores that celebrate the Deaf community in China and provide equal employment and career advancement opportunities for partners who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
Equally committed to elevating Starbucks coffee leadership, Leo was the architect behind the launch of Starbucks ReserveTM in China, introducing premium small-lot Starbucks coffees to Chinese consumers for the first time. He is also a passionate advocate of coffee craftsmanship, inspiring nearly 70,000 Starbucks China partners to develop a deeper sense of pride to the craft, creating rewarding career paths for coffee artisans, and supporting baristas in showcasing their coffee talent.
Starbucks has also made important strides towards its planet-positive aspirations under Leo’s leadership, becoming a pioneer in China’s plant-based movement with launch of the new plant-based food and beverage items, lower-impact packaging, and price parity for alternative milks. This was followed by the opening of the Greener Store Lab in Shanghai, the first of only three experiential greener stores globally, which marked the introduction of Starbucks Greener Store framework to China.
Prior to assuming his current position, Leo was coo & president of Starbucks Retail. He also served in a variety of leadership positions including vp of North China, cmo and vp of Store Development. Before joining Starbucks, he spent nine years with PepsiCo China, holding numerous senior executive positions in the company’s Beverages and Foods businesses. He also served as a Brand Manager for Procter and Gamble between 1995 and 2001.
Leo graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a B.A. in Business Administration. He sits on the Board of PURE Group, contributing his valuable insights as an avid sport enthusiast with a deep passion for retail. When he is not taking a break with his favorite Starbucks ReserveTM coffees, he enjoys road cycling and tennis.