UPDATE 2-Starbucks insider Ruggeri to take over as CFO, Grismer to retire

(Adds background, appointment details)

Jan 7 (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp said on Thursday long-time executive Rachel Ruggeri would take charge as chief financial officer next month, replacing Patrick Grismer who will be retiring.

Ruggeri, senior vice president of finance in the Americas, worked with Grismer in her current role, where she was responsible for planning and performance cafes across the region.

She started as a member of the accounting team in 2001 and has been credited for the launch of the first Starbucks Card. The loyalty program is a key part of the business today, helping the coffee chain gain attract customers from competition.

The announcement comes as Corporate America pushes for improving diversity in its senior leadership ranks. Women have been underrepresented in top roles at big companies, and the share of board seats held by them and minorities has drawn scrutiny in recent years.

Starbucks has also pushed to make its workforce more diverse, disclosing in a report last year that 69% of its U.S. partners were women. Late last year, the company named Mellody Hobson as board chair, the only African American woman to chair a Fortune 500 company.

Citigroup Inc last year appointed Jane Fraser as its chief executive officer, making her the first woman to lead a Wall Street bank.

Grismer, who has held the role for a little over two years, will retire next month. He will remain with the company as an adviser to Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson through May 2.

The coffee chain also reiterated its forecast for the first quarter and fiscal 2021. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)