The following is an excerpt from Maggie McGrath | December 1, 2016 | Forbes.com |
It's the end of (another) era.
Howard Schultz, a self-made billionaire and Starbucks' SBUX +0.91% longtime chairman and CEO, announced on Thursday that he is stepping away from his role as chief executive -- for the second time in 16 years. The move is almost certain to fan speculation about a potential run for political office.
Starbucks said Thursday afternoon that Schultz will give up his CEO title and become executive chairman on April 3, 2017, . Schultz said Thursday that he will focus on developing and expanding Starbucks Reserve Roasteries, a new strategic initiative for the coffee giant.
Schultz, 63, will cede the CEO role to Kevin Johnson, the company's president and chief operating officer.
"Starbucks consistently outperforms the retail industry because our stores, our offerings and the experiences our partners create make us a destination," Schultz said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "As I focus on Starbucks' next wave of retail innovation, I am delighted that Kevin Johnson — our current president, COO, a seven-year board member and my partner in running every facet of Starbucks business over the last two years — has agreed to assume the duties of Starbucks chief executive officer. This move ideally positions Starbucks to continue profitably growing our core business around the world into the future.”
In a call with analysts, investors and journalists Thursday afternoon, Schultz attempted to make his next step perfectly clear. "I'm not leaving the company. I'm here every single day," he said.
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