Starbucks Chairman Schultz to retire from the coffee giant | CMO Strategy

Starbucks Chairman Schultz to retire from the coffee giant | CMO Strategy

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz, who oversaw the growth of the coffee chain into a global powerhouse, has said he is quitting the company after almost four decades. Never embrace the status quo. But investors have been underwhelmed by the company's new outlook, with the shares falling about 11 per cent in the past year.

"The move is likely to stoke speculation about his entry into politics", said the New York Times, which was among a dozen news organization which immediately broached the possibility.

The announcement also fueled speculation that Schultz, 64, a liberal-leaning executive known for being outspoken on social issues ranging from gay marriage to government gridlock, will make a USA presidential bid.

Schultz had transitioned from running the company on a day-to-day basis in April 2017, the second time he'd given up the chief executive's title, most recently to current CEO Kevin Johnson.

Mr Schultz, who will become chairman emeritus, also used his position to speak out in social debates.

He became Starbucks' executive chairman in 2017, handing the chief executive job to Kevin Johnson at a time when growth in Starbucks' dominant USA market was showing signs of cooling. In his new role as executive chairman, Schultz was focused on the company's push to develop a higher-end brand so it could compete with so-called "third wave" chains like Blue Bottle, as well as "experiential destinations" to draw in customers in a changing retail landscape.

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Starbucks declined to make Schultz or other Starbucks executives and board members available for comment.

During his tenure with the firm, Starbucks grew from 11 outlets to more than 28,000 and its share price rose by 21,000%, the company said.

To the more than 330,000 partners who wear the green apron today, and the millions before them, Schultz will forever represent Starbucks mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

The announcement comes just days after the closure of 8,000 stores for anti-racism training.

"It's not about Starbucks, it's about the country", Schultz said. This leadership team is extraordinarily capable. The promise of America will not be achieved if it is only available to those that have the right color of skin or have the right zip code. "We are at a critical juncture in American history. And this exercise is the beginning of that for Starbucks".

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