(New throughout, adds background, comments from CEO and analyst)
June 28 (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp said on Thursday Chief Financial Officer Scott Maw will retire at the end of November, a move that stunned investors and sent shares of the world's largest coffee shop chain down 3.8 percent in morning trade.
The company said it has launched an external search for a new chief financial officer to replace Maw, 50, who has been in the role since Feb. 2014.
Following his retirement, Maw will become a senior consultant with Starbucks until March 31, 2019, earning $250,000 per month, the Seattle-based company said in regulatory filing https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/829224/000119312518206726/d802843d8k.htm .
"As we enter our next phase of continued growth, I am confident in the finance team Scott has developed and am appreciative of his willingness to support through the transition into new leadership," Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear whose decision it was for Maw to leave the company after just four years of overseeing the coffee brand's finances.
Analysts were stunned by the decision. Some described Maw as a competent and capable leader. But they also noted the chain's disappointing performance and outlook in recent quarters.
"The sudden nature of this announcement and Maws relatively young age and tenure in his role suggest the decision (to) leave was perhaps not entirely voluntary," Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore wrote in a Thursday research note.
"Maws initial tenure as CFO coincided with an accelerating comp trend and EPS beats. The last two years, however, have been marked by a series of disappointing comps and lowered EPS guidance in 4 of the last 8 quarters," Senatore wrote, adding that Maw could have been seen as at least partly to blame for any resulting damage to Starbucks' credibility.
Maw is the second high-profile departure announced in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Starbucks Executive Chairman and longtime statesman Howard Schultz announced he would be stepping away from the company, effective this week. (Reporting by Alana Wise in New York and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)