Will Howard Schultz make rumors come true and run for president?
By now you’ve heard that Howard Schultz is stepping down as executive chairman of Starbucks.
And by now you’ve probably wondered whether Schultz will follow through with rumors about running for president.
He certainly sounded like somebody who’s looking to challenge the sitting president when he spoke to CNBC Tuesday morning.
“And this might sound like a trite line, but it’s important. We should not be in the business of building walls, we should be in the business of building bridges with our neighbors, with our allies, and our standing in the world today is not what it should be.”
CNBC pointed out that President Donald Trump expanded our idea of who can be president. A CEO, as far as the public is concerned, has the skills to handle the job. The network also brought up the potential of a Mark Cuban, Oprah Winfrey, or a Bob Iger presidential run.
Schultz said there is a difference between someone who has run a public company for more than two decades and someone who ran a private company with an unknown amount of oversight.
“When you’re talking about a CEO in terms of public office, there is a very big difference between someone who has run a global enterprise like myself, who has traveled to China probably more than any other CEO in the last 10 years … versus someone who has run a private company with very little fiduciary responsibility to other shareholders. And I’m not saying that as good or bad, but it’s a big difference. And so I think, yes, President Trump has given license to the fact that someone who is not a politician could potentially run for the presidency. Whether or not that has anything to do with me remains to be seen.”
We can imagine what Starbucks shareholders think about the idea of Howard Schultz leaving. Shares were down about 2 percent Tuesday morning.
But what if he won? The Trump presidency hasn’t been great for the Trump Organization financially.
That idea was posed to CBS political consultant Leonard Steinhorn.
“And you would expect Trump will do anything in his power … if Howard Schultz got the nomination to undercut not only Schultz but Starbucks as well to create a caricature of it. It’s the company itself that may be on the ballot — not just Howard Schultz — and that should make some people fairly nervous if he decides to do it.”
Of course, Schultz may just want to get involved in politics by funding and advocating for certain causes, rather than running for office.
Steinhorn says it’s too early to tell. With Democrats, he says, you never know. We could see 20 candidates debating each other on stage, including Gov. Jay Inslee.