Published: Tue, June 05, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Starbucks chief Schultz retiring, may run for president

Starbucks chief Schultz retiring, may run for president

Schultz led the Seattle-based coffee chain, which now has more than 28,000 locations around the world, for almost four decades as CEO and executive chariman.

Howard Schultz, the visionary who built Starbucks into a global empire, is stepping down as executive chairman and member of the board of directors, the company announced Monday.

He was heavily involved in steering the company through an anti-bias training program last month. Pride. Nostalgia. A heavy heart. He expressed gratitude and encouraged the employees to foster a "sense of community and human connection". "I am living the American Dream".

He's stepping down from Starbucks on June 26. Schultz won't be entirely absent from the coffee giant, however.

Mr Schultz, who will become chairman emeritus, also used his position to speak out in social debates. The company's announcement said that after Schultz leaves the board, he will oversee the opening of two Roastery stores - one in Milan in September and another in NY in October. After a stint as executive chairman with Kevin Johnson as chief executive, he's now leaving Johnson in charge. And John Culver took on the role of group president of Starbucks Global Retail.

Schultz is credited with expanding Starbucks from a Seattle-based coffee chain to an worldwide conglomerate with over 28,000 stores.

He has been focused on long-term strategy since then, growing Starbucks higher end businesses, such as its special reserve stores and roasteries.

"I want to be truthful with you without creating more speculative headlines", Schultz, 64, told The New York Times. He is facing cooler growth in Starbucks' dominant US market and intense competition from rivals - ranging from high-end coffee shops to more affordable fast-food chains - as the company undertakes a massive expansion project in China.

During his 36-year tenure, Starbucks has grown from 11 stores to more than 28,000 stores across 77 countries. He's turning in his corporate email address and planning new ventures - maybe even running for US president.

"The moral fiber, the values, and what we as a country have stood for is literally hanging in the abyss", Schultz said.

Shultz said he wanted to "figure out if there is a role I can play in giving back".

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