Howard Schultz is stepping down at Starbucks

Jun 4, 2018, 1:42 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz is stepping down.

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Schultz announced his departure from Starbucks on Monday, June 4, 2018:

I write to you today enjoying a French Press of my favorite coffee, aged Sumatra, and feeling so many emotions. Pride. Nostalgia. A heavy heart. But mostly, I sit here feeling a tremendous sense of gratitude. For years I’ve had a dream to build a different kind of company, one that has the potential to enhance lives and endure long after I was gone. Thanks to you, my dream has come true.

His last day at Starbucks will be June 26, 2018. Schultz won’t be entirely absent from the Seattle coffee giant, however. He said that will become chairman emeritus. Schultz signed his announcement “Onward with love, Howard.”

Howard Schultz and Starbucks

Howard Schultz previously stepped back from his role at the company in 2016 when he left his duties as CEO and became executive chairman. Kevin Johnson stepped in as COO and president of the company at that time. And John Culver took on the role of group president of Starbucks Global Retail. Schultz said Monday that Kevin Johnson “is a true servant leader” who will lead the company into the future.

He has been focused on long-term strategy since then, growing Starbucks higher end businesses, such as its special reserve stores and roasteries. According to the New York Times, Schultz told Starbucks’ board of his intentions to retire from the company about a year ago.

Schultz came to work at Starbucks in the 1980s in its marketing department. He eventually opened his own coffee shop and purchased the Starbucks brand. Starbucks then proceeded to grow into the retail giant it is today with more than 28,000 stores in 77 countries.

Next steps and presidential speculation

The New York Times notes that speculation over Schultz’s political potential has been growing, particularly when it comes to running for president. When asked about any intentions to run for president, Schultz told the Times that he has been “deeply concerned about our country” for some time now. He spoke to the growing division in the country and America’s standing in the world.

While he did not address the speculation directly, Schultz did tell the Times: “One of the things I want to do in my next chapter is to figure out if there is a role I can play in giving back. I’m not exactly sure what that means yet … I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future.”

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Howard Schultz is stepping down at Starbucks