Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League, who has led the theater chain since he co-founded it more than two decades ago, will assume a new role as executive chairman as a new CEO, former Starbucks executive Shelli Taylor, will take over as chief executive.
Taylor starts Friday. She most recently served as president of United Planet Fitness Partners, the largest franchise group of the gym chain, and before that spent almost 20 years at Starbucks.
League, who with his wife Karrie League started Alamo Drafthouse with one theater in Austin in 1997, will lead the board of directors and continue to guide creative initiatives for the theater chain, sister company Mondo, and the genre festival Fantastic Fest. He’ll also continue to lead the chain’s booking and programming strategy. League is also cofounder of distribution company Neon with Tom Quinn, which released the box-office hit and Oscar-winning “Parasite.”
“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 in a statement.
Taylor’s tenure begins in the midst of an incredibly trying time for the exhibition industry. Along with virtually every other theater, Alamo closed its 41 locations in mid-March and furloughed its employees.
League cited Taylor’s breadth of leadership and brand-growth experience. She helped Starbucks rapidly expand in China at a rate of 500 stores per year. She also was VP of Disney English China, a provider of immersive English-language programming, experiences, and products for children.
Before the chain can return its focus to the growth strategy it embarked on in recent years, Taylor will be forced to weather the coronavirus storm, which includes deciding when theaters should reopen and under what circumstances. Though Texas has begun easing stay-at-home rules, Alamo has said it’s not ready to begin reopening its 21 locations in the Lone Star State.
After opening its first Los Angeles location last year, Alamo is planning on opening its first Manhattan theater and a Staten Island location.