Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz Takes the Helm as CEO

by Katie Lee

Seattle — On April 4, Starbucks Corporation marked the return of founder Howard Schultz as chief executive officer and as a director on the company’s board. The news follows the retirement of Kevin Johnson, former president and CEO, who spent 13 years with the company, including the last 5 years as CEO.

In an early morning letter, Schultz shared with all company stakeholders a vision and invitation to join in the reimagination of the company he built, one with a storied history and an enduring mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.

“I am returning to the company to work with all of you to design our next Starbucks — an evolution of our company deep with purpose, where we each have agency and where we work together to create a positive impact in the world,” he wrote.

Schultz also announced Starbucks will suspend its stock repurchasing program, effectively immediately. “This decision will allow us to invest more into our people and our stores — the only way to create long term value for all stakeholders.”

Since the company’s initial public offering in 1992, Starbucks has continued to provide innovative benefits, including access to healthcare benefits for full- and part-time employees, equity in the form of stock options, free college tuition through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, mental health benefits, pay equity, paid parental leave and a national sick pay program.

During Schultz’s previous four decades as CEO and chairman, the company grew from 11 stores to more than 28,000 stores in 77 markets around the world. During his tenure, Starbucks delivered a 21,000% gain in the value of its stock price between its initial public offering in 1992 and Schultz’s departure as CEO in 2017.

Founded in 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company today has more than 34,000 stores worldwide; it is considered the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. For more information, visit




SOURCE: Starbucks

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