Howard Schultz to step down as Starbucks executive chairman

Devin Lawrence
June 5, 2018

Howard Schultz, who built a small Seattle coffee chain into the global powerhouse Starbucks, announced Monday he was retiring from the company, fueling speculation he may seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. Schultz will keep the honorary title of chairman emeritus.

Last April, Schultz transitioned from CEO to executive chairman, where he oversaw the company's social impact initiatives. Starbucks closed all of its company-owned stores in the US for four hours last week so employees could undergo racial bias training.

Schultz said he had initially meant to announce his retirement last month, but put it on hold after two black men were arrested while sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks in April.

Howard Schultz is leaving his job at Starbucks - and says he may consider running for president.

According to aNew York Times report, Schultz told the company previous year he planned on retiring.

"I want to be truthful with you without creating more speculative headlines", Schultz, said in an interview with The New York Times.

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"I told myself a long time ago that if I was ever going to explore a second act, I couldn't do it while still at the company", he added.

Schultz elevated the concept of Starbucks as the third place between home and work: a comfortable, welcoming environment that provides uplifting experiences, community and human connection.

"Ullman, former chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney, was named chair, while Mellody Hobson, president and director of Chicago-based investment management firm Ariel Investments, will be named vice chair", reports CNBC.

Most recently, he was involved in steering the company through an anti-bias training program that was kickstarted after a Philadelphia cafe manager's call to police resulted in the arrests of two black men who were waiting for a friend.

"I set out to build a company that my father, a blue-collar worker and world war II veteran, never had a chance to work for", Schultz wrote in a letter addressed to past and present Starbucks employees.

Starbucks shares were down 1.31 percent to $56.32 in after-hours trading on Wall Street.

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