Howard Schultz Is Stepping Down As Starbucks Chairman


Starbucks said Monday that executive chairman Howard Schultz, who transformed a small retail chain of coffee stores into a global juggernaut of cafes, restaurants and coffee beans with more than 28,000 stores in 77 countries, will be stepping down as executive chairman and as a member of the company’s board effective June 26.

One of America’s most widely recognized CEOs, Schultz long ago emerged as an outspoken leader on civic issues such as immigration, LGBTQ issues and gun control. This move has reignited speculation that a plan to run for political office could be in his future.

In an interview with the New York Times, Schultz reportedly acknowledged that he may consider public service. Asked specifically if he was planning to run for president, Schultz said “I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future.”

Schultz has for years expressed an interest in becoming more involved in public life, even as he has equivocated on questions about whether he will mount a campaign for president. His friend David Geffen, the Hollywood mogul and a major Democratic donor, has said he encouraged Schultz to run as far back as the 2008 campaign cycle.

Instead of taking that leap, Schultz has used the intervening years to expand his philanthropic efforts, both through Starbucks and his family foundation, which focuses on helping veterans, employing young people and helping the homeless in Washington State. He has also co-produced a documentary series at Starbucks about inspiring Americas who engage in acts of citizenship and civility, and opened a separate personal office to handle his own affairs.

At an Atlantic Council event last month in Washington, Schultz laid out a set or themes that would fit easily into a 2020 presidential campaign, including a warning against isolationism and nationalism.

“This is not a time to build walls. This is a time to build bridges,” he said. “We have an awesome responsibility not to be desensitized by the time we are living in, not to accept the status quo of a lack of dignity and a lack of respect, but to rise above it and to do all we can.”

Schultz had transitioned from running the company on a day-to-day basis in April 2017, the second time he’d given up the chief executive’s title, most recently to current CEO Kevin Johnson. After becoming executive chairman, he focused on the company’s premium brands – its chain of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries, Reserve stores and its partnership with an Italian bakery, Princi. The company’s announcement said that after Schultz leaves the board, he will oversee the opening of two Roastery stores – one in Milan in September and another in New York in October. He will receive the title of chairman emeritus.

The company said that former J.C. Penney chairman and CEO Myron “Mike” Ullman would be appointed its new board chair and Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson would serve as vice chair. Both are current members of the Starbucks board.

Schultz returned to the company’s forefront recently as Starbucks became embroiled in controversy over the arrest of two customers at its Philadelphia store, leading the company to institute racial bias training across the country for 175,000 workers.

In the days after two black men were arrested in Philadelphia, Schultz, along with Johnson, flew to meet with the men and personally apologize. The coffee behemoth then announced it would close stores for the afternoon of May 29 for racial bias training, marking the beginning of years-long initiatives to steer workers toward inclusivity and sensitivity.

In the weeks leading to the training, Schultz repeatedly cast the arrests as a company-wide failure that reflected on the company’s top leadership – rather than placing blame on the manager who called 911. He described going through the training himself and being gripped by the experiences of a colleague who grew up in South Africa during apartheid. And he appeared throughout the racial bias curriculum, calling on employees to do their part to uphold a welcoming community for all in their stores and communities.

“That’s my hope for the company, and that’s literally my hope for the country,” he said in the training.

Schultz also made clear that Starbucks’s racial bias training wasn’t just about his company alone.

“It’s not about Starbucks, it’s about the country,” Schultz said. “What kind of country do we want to live in? For me the answer is very simple. The promise of America will not be achieved if it is only available to those that have the right color of skin or have the right zip code. We must provide opportunity and aspiration to every single person who is American, and we must see that through the lens of humanity. And this exercise is the beginning of that for Starbucks.”

(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Rachel Siegel, Jena McGregor 



  1. The last paragraph says it all. Schultz is a sick sick person. He is a classic elitist, who steps out of his ivory tower every now and then and commands the peasants how to run their miserable lives before vanishing back into his world of his own. No different than Bl$$mberg, Zuckerberg, Gates, Kerry, Gore, etc… Saving the world, as they fly around in private jets, chauffeured limousines, private security with real guns, elephant tusks from endangered elephants in their sprawling living room, etc…
    The fact that the lowlife dirtbag Schultz gave so much money to his beloved militant LGBT is enough to make one ill.

  2. Despite his eloquent reminiscences of his meeting with Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zatzal and how “inspired” he was by the Rosh Yeshiva, it is painfully obvious that Mr. Schultz neither learned anything nor gained anything from the encounter. What a pity to waste such a golden opportunity.
    How any Yid can support Starbuck’s, a company that bashes Israel and advocates for lifestyles that are keneged the Torah, by buying their overpriced coffee is beyond me. If you need a caffeine fix, buy a Coke, Pepsi or Red Bull, but don’t buy Starbuck’s.

  3. All these countries in the Mideast have Starbucks stores except Israel. My guess is that he doesn’t like Israel.Wouldn’t you agree?

  4. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you in the back of the head. You can forget the Presidency. Jill Stein will be President before you come even close.

    • Don’t be so sure that he can forget the Presidency. Although the CIA got by with lots of fraud to install Bush and Obama, they botched it up at the 2016 election with much too little fraud as they didn’t expect Hillary to be so despised with only 12% of Americans voting for her. But they learned their lesson. The next election they’ll create much more fraud for the candidate of ‘their’ choice even if he/she will only have 5% of voters. Wait and see. Why do you think Brennan the ex-CIA director is fuming at Trump? Because he feels that Trump had no right defeating ‘their’ candidate.

  5. Starbucks. Kosher experiences that many enjoy.

    No guilt other than the budget.

    Best hope to this diaspora jew. We can hope his journey has pleased humor from the others who yet have not met the best community and may not. The Torah community.

    He is a diaspora jew and we should respect Hashem to allow any of the influences of Torah to grow in the universe that he also has a home. He is not a threat to the yeshiva budget other than any of his high paid drinks.

    World we live is real. We set up insular communities. Some become ever strong by return as ba’al teshuvah. Its not that often.

    And any jew is a jew to know is jewish. Can we just take a sip of the coffee and remember that a name like his is worth repeating to Hashem that he has children of Israel? We are all the same by our covenant to know the King.

    Hate to see so much angry feelings. Direct it to the reform clergy who lie. They are keeping this man from supporting Yeshiva too.

    We need more help. Israel is too precious to slam any diaspora jew just because his eyes are too crossed to see past the guilt pleasures of mammon. Hashem is involved in any life including ours. Its Israel.

  6. Schultz has changed Starbucks into a public bathroom and would like as President to make all of the US into public bathrooms and bring more filth to America.


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