Starbucks' board of directors elected former journalist and Henry Kissinger protégé Joshua Cooper Ramo to its ranks May 3, the...

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Starbucks’ board of directors elected former journalist and Henry Kissinger protégé Joshua Cooper Ramo to its ranks May 3, the company said in a securities filing.

Ramo is an expert on China, which Starbucks hopes will become its largest market outside North America. About 800 of its 16,800 cafés are there now.

Ramo, 42, also is managing director of Kissinger Associates, a New York consulting firm founded by Henry Kissinger, who threw a party for Ramo’s 2009 book “The Age of the Unthinkable” at which he referred to him as “young Joshua,” according to an account in The New Yorker.

“As we accelerate the growth of our international business, Joshua’s notable experience and perspective will complement our already strong and diverse board,” Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said in the filing. “His expertise, especially with regard to China, will be an invaluable contribution to maintaining our global leadership and strategic competitive advantage.”

Ramo is a former foreign editor and assistant managing of Time magazine. He was called “one of China’s leading foreign-born scholars” by the World Economic Forum, and in 2008 was TV network NBC’s China analyst for coverage of the summer Olympics in Beijing.

In the securities filing, Ramo said he looks forward to contributing to the next phase of growth at Starbucks, which he called “an aspirational, exciting brand with unquestioned global relevance.”

Other Starbucks directors are: Schultz; investment banker and former U.S. Sen. William Bradley: investment manager Mellody Hobson; Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson; retired PepsiCo executive Olden Lee; Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg; venture capitalist James Shennan Jr.; retired Colgate-Palmolive executive Javier Teruel; J.C. Penney Chairman and CEO Myron Ullman III; and retired PepsiCo executive Craig Weatherup.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com