What will Starbucks do without Howard Schultz?
When Howard Schultz stepped down from his position as CEO of Starbucks in April 2017, many wondered how well the coffee giant would fare without its longtime leader in the role. While Starbucks has faced some business and public relations challenges in the year-plus since Kevin Johnson took over as CEO, the company has managed to avoid a sky-is-falling scenario. Now, as it turns out, Mr. Schultz believes Starbucks is in good hands and is stepping down as executive chairman and member of the company’s board effective June 26.
Mr. Schultz, who will honored as the company’s chairman emeritus upon his retirement, first joined Starbucks as its director of operations and marketing in 1982. During his four decades-long stint as the company’s CEO and chairman, Mr. Schultz grew the company from 11 locations to more than 28,000 in 77 countries.
As Starbucks’ leader, Mr. Schultz emphasized the role of the company in doing right for its employees and the communities the chain served. Starbucks offered healthcare benefits, stock ownership and free college tuition to its workers.
While much of the press coverage around Mr. Schultz’s announcement has speculated on a potential role for him in politics, potentially as a candidate for President in the next Democratic Party primary, the business story remains on Starbucks and its prospects going forward without the person most associated with its image.
“It’s our duty as leaders to constantly reimagine Starbucks,” said Mr. Schultz. “I am honored to call Kevin my friend and partner. And Starbucks is fortunate to have him. This leadership team is extraordinarily capable. They, too, believe that Starbucks has a responsibility to use our scale for good.”
Mr. Schultz’s place as chairman of Starbucks’ board will be filled by Myron “Mike” Ullman, former CEO of J.C. Penney. Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, will become vice chair.
- Will Starbucks be the same without Howard Schultz as CEO? – RetailWire
- Message from Howard Schultz to partners: Onward with love – Starbucks Corporation
- Iconic Leader and Visionary Entrepreneur Howard Schultz to Bid Farewell to Starbucks After 40 Years – Starbucks Corporation
- Howard Schultz to Step Down as Starbucks Executive Chairman – The New York Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will the future hold for Starbucks without Howard Schultz? What challenges will the management team face?