Lights! Action! Executive Change!
Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse Cinema announced April 30 that former Starbucks executive Shelli Taylor will assume the role of CEO, effective May 1.
Taylor spent almost 20 years as an executive with the ubiquitous coffee giant, and most recently served as president of United Planet Fitness Partners, overseeing over 169 facilities across the country.
Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League will assume a new role as executive chairman, where he will lead the board of directors and continue to guide and develop bold new creative initiatives for Alamo Drafthouse, sister company Mondo, and genre festival Fantastic Fest. League will also continue to lead the eclectic booking and programming strategy that has defined the theater since it opened.
“Six months ago, I began searching for a CEO who could work as a partner and collaborator, with a strong voice and battle-tested leadership skills. Shelli Taylor brings that and more,” League said.
“Alamo Drafthouse is the only leadership role I’ve ever known. I am in awe of the depth and breadth of Shelli’s leadership and brand growth experience. I am excited to partner with her to rise from the current challenges that our industry faces and continue to drive towards our company vision, to be the best damn cinema that has ever or will ever exist,” he said.
At Starbucks, Taylor was instrumental in building a culture and infrastructure for rapid expansion in China. Those efforts resulted in the expansion of 500 stores per year, launching 3,000 stores in China by the time of her departure. She was also the vice president of Disney English China, China’s leading English Language provider delivering immersive English language learning experiences, products, and services for children.
“I am incredibly honored and excited to assume the role of CEO at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Tim League and his talented team have built an unequaled cinema brand that is built on passion, innovation, and a local community mindset encompassing everything from food and drink to fantastic programming,” Taylor said. “I am committed to Alamo Drafthouse’s vision of sharing the films we love with the widest possible audience while offering the best moviegoing experience in the industry.”
Alamo Drafthouse has 41 locations from coast-to-coast, with continued plans for expansion that include the company’s first Manhattan theater and a Staten Island location where the theater has partnered with Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA on a kung-fu inspired bar called The Flying Guillotine.
But there are large challenges ahead for the company and the cinema industry, and Taylor’s first priority is to lead the reopening of the theaters, ensuring the safest possible experience for both guests and staff.