Schultz, who reimagined the Italian coffeehouse tradition in America and redefined the role and responsibility of a publicly-held company, announces his departure as Executive Chairman of Starbucks
Starbucks Corporation announced that Howard Schultz is stepping down as Executive Chairman and member of the Board of Directors and will be honoured with the title of Chairman Emeritus effective 26 June 2018.
During his four decades as CEO and Chairman, Schultz grew Starbucks from 11 stores to more than 28,000 stores in 77 countries, whilst demonstrating that a business can simultaneously deliver best-in-class financial performance and share success with its people and the communities it serves.
Under Schultz’s leadership, the coffee company has delivered a 21,000% gain in the value of its stock price since its initial public offering in 1992. The company’s growth was fueled by his decisions to provide uncommon benefits for those who work for the company, 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, Together we have done that, and so much more, by balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility,” Schultz wrote in a letter addressed today to past and present Starbucks partners.
Schultz’s journey began in 1981, when he walked into the first Starbucks store, located in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market. The following year, he moved with his wife, Sheri, from New York to assume the role of Director of Operations and Marketing.
Schultz’s passion for the highest quality coffee heightened on a business trip to Italy, where he was captivated by the sense of community, romance and theater found in Italian coffee bars.
In the years following his return to Seattle, Schultz purchased Starbucks with the support of local investors and dedicated his career to bringing his vision of a modern coffee house to life in America and around the world.
Schultz elevated the concept of the company as the third place between home and work: a comfortable, welcoming environment that provides uplifting experiences, community and human connection.
Amongst his many accolades, Schultz has been named as one of The World’s Most Influential People by Time magazine as well as Business Person of the Year by Fortune. Most recently, Schultz has received the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award and has been presented with the Atlantic Council’s Distinguished Business Leadership award and the NAACP LDF (Legal Defense and Education Fund) National Equal Justice award.
This year, the company was named the fifth most admired company in the world by Fortune, marking the 16th year in a row that the company has appeared on the global list.
It was also 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, most notably for its social-impact work.
On 3 April 2017, Schultz transitioned from CEO to Executive Chairman, shifting his full-time focus to the company’s social impact initiatives as well as innovation and global development of the company’s premium Reserve brand, including Starbucks Reserve Roasteries, Reserve stores and the company’s partnership with renowned artisanal Italian bakery, Princi.
The company also announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Myron E. “Mike” Ullman as its new Chair of the Board and Mellody Hobson as Vice Chair of the Board effective upon Schultz’s retirement.
“There are no words to fully express our gratitude to Howard for the extraordinary company he has built,” said CEO and member of the Board of Directors Kevin Johnson.
“He has helped Starbucks earn the respect of millions around the world by always being true to a higher calling, and always being bold in creating a better future. He has taught all of us that it is possible to be a very different kind of public company. That must, and will, continue on my watch.”