Howard Schultz is stepping down as Starbucks’ executive chairman and member of the Board of Directors and will be honored with the title of chairman emeritus effective June 26, 2018, the company announced Monday.
During his four decades as ceo and chairman, Schultz grew Starbucks from 11 stores to more than 28,000 stores in 77 countries, company staff said. Also noted was his work for including comprehensive healthcare, stock ownership and free college tuition, even for those working part-time.
"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 Monday letter to past and present Starbucks partners. "Together we've done that, and so much more, by balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility."
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In 1982, Schultz and his wife, Sheri, moved to Seattle from New York to assume the role of Starbucks director of operations and marketing.
Under Schultz’s leadership, Starbucks also was named one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute for the 12th consecutive year and was ranked as one of 2018's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company.
On April 3, 2017, Schultz transitioned from CEO to executive chairman, and Kevin Johnson became CEO.
Schultz owned the Seattle SuperSonics before selling the team in 2006 to Clay Bennett, who moved the team to Oklahoma City. Schultz filed a lawsuit in April 2008 to try and rescind the sale, but dropped the lawsuit four months later.
There were questions about a possible Schultz run for president in 2012 and again recently for 2020. He told CNN he was not running for president in 2020 during a February 27 interview.
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