J.Crew has hired the Starbucks executive who transformed the coffee chain into a tech innovator

Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman.
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Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman.

Adam Brotman, a longtime Starbucks executive who helped mold the Seattle coffee giant into one of the most technologically advanced retailers, is leaving the company after nine years for a top role at J.Crew.

Brotman will join J.Crew as president and chief experience officer and report to new CEO Jim Brett, who replaced legendary chief executive Mickey Drexler this summer.

Brotman was most recently the top executive overseeing Starbucks stores but is perhaps best known for the work he did in previous digital-focused roles. As chief digital officer, Brotman oversaw the launch of Starbucks' popular "mobile order and pay" smartphone feature — which now accounts for 11 percent of total transactions at Starbucks-owned stores.

He also led the teams that developed the original payment feature inside the Starbucks app. Starbucks said last year that 30 percent of in-store transactions are completed via mobile payments.

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"Adam's experience with global field operations and cutting-edge consumer-facing digital platforms makes him an invaluable partner in shaping and driving J.Crew Group's strategic initiatives to the next level," J.Crew's CEO said in a statement. "Adam will help us establish customer relationships that leverage all our channels, helping us to serve them in ways that are more meaningful and relevant to how they shop and live."

Brotman will join an executive team attempting to lead a turnaround of the classic American clothing giant that has seen sales slide as customers opt for less expensive clothes from fast-fashion retailers and shift loyalty to clothing brands that originated online.

Amazon's push into fashion probably hasn't helped either. Last year, Drexler said J.Crew approached Amazon about a sale.