Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz will be step down from his position in April of next year. Schultz will be replaced by Kevin Johnson who is currently the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer.
The business community was taken by surprise by the sudden announcement. Schultz is the visionary behind Starbucks. He wanted to bring the Italian coffee house experience to America and succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. In the last 25 years, Starbucks revolutionized the coffee experience around the world. It has countless imitators as people everywhere can be seen walking around with their cappuccinos in large paper cups.
— CNN (@CNN) December 1, 2016
So why the change?
Well Forbes is saying that it does not know why Howard Schultz decided to leave, but speculates that maybe he just ran out of things to do there. While The New York Times thinks that the Starbucks head may be interested in going into politics. Howard Schultz is a supporter of the Democratic Party and is not happy with the election results.
Such speculation is to be expected considering the surprise nature of the announcement. Howard Schultz himself was less than forthcoming about his reason for leaving in a blog post on the Starbucks website, preferring to sing the praises of his successor.
“Starbucks consistently outperforms the retail industry because our stores, our offerings and the experiences our partners create make us a destination. The best evidence of the success of the core strategy driving our business is that we continue to deliver quarter after quarter of record, industry leading revenue, comp sales and profit growth, and that the newest classes of Starbucks stores continue to deliver record-breaking revenues, AUV’s and ROI both in the U.S. and around the world, ” said Schultz in a statement.
“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.”
So who is Kevin Johnson? The 56 year old has been on the Starbucks Board for seven years and has been its number two man for a year. He previously served as an executive at Microsoft and Juniper Networks.
The official handover will take place on April 3, 2017. Howard Schultz will remain with Starbucks and continue his work on its Starbucks’ Reserve Roasteries, a chain of massive coffee houses which offer tastings and other experiences. He will also continue his efforts to have the company make a greater social impact, like opening more branches in lower income areas.
Starbucks fans around the world need not be concerned, though, Howard Schultz’s departure will not effect the quality of its coffee.