Howard Schultz stepping down as chief executive of Starbucks

Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz announced he will step down as boss of the company next year. President and COO of the company, Kevin Johnson, will take his place.

Mr Schultz, who joined the company 1982 before stepping down as chief executive in 2000 only to return again in 2008, will become executive chairman and “shift his focus to innovation, design and development of Starbucks Reserve® Roasteries around the world.” Schultz will continue to serve as chairman of the Board in this new role.

The 63-year old has been at the forefront of much of Starbuck’s expansion – last month the company reported record profits. However, the company recently said that it faced “ongoing economic, consumer and geopolitical headwinds”.

Mr Schultz said:

“Starbucks consistently outperforms the retail industry because our stores, our offerings and the experiences our partners create make us a destination.

The best evidence of the success of the core strategy driving our business is that we continue to deliver quarter after quarter of record, industry leading revenue, comp sales and profit growth, and that the newest classes of Starbucks stores continue to deliver record-breaking revenues, AUV’s and ROI both in the U.S. and around the world.

“As I focus on Starbucks next wave of retail innovation, I am delighted that Kevin Johnson – our current president, COO, a seven-year board member and my partner in running every facet of Starbucks business over the last two years – has agreed to assume the duties of Starbucks chief executive officer.

This move ideally positions Starbucks to continue profitably growing our core business around the world into the future.”

Kevin_Johnson_Howard Schultz
Kevin Johnson (left) and Howard Schultz (right).

Kevin Johnson, current president and chief operating officer, will replace Schultz. Johnson, who has been a board member for seven years, led the company’s global operating businesses and core support functions of Starbucks supply chain, marketing, human resources, technology, and mobile and digital platforms.

Mr Johnson said:

“Over the past two decades, I have grown to know Starbucks first as a customer, then as a director on the board, and for the past two years as a member of the management team. Through that journey, I fell in love with Starbucks and I share Howard’s commitment to our mission and values and his optimism for the future.

“It is an honor for me to serve the more than 300,000 partners who proudly wear the green apron and I consider it a privilege to work side-by-side with Howard, our world-class board of directors, and a very talented leadership team. Together, we will reaffirm our leadership in all things coffee, enhance the partner experience and exceed the expectations of our customers and shareholders. We believe in using our scale for good and having positive social impact in the communities we serve around the world.”