Starbucks’ President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Kevin Johnson will replace Schultz as CEO. Johnson has been a Starbucks board member since 2009 and has served as its President and COO since 2015.
As executive chairman, Schultz will focus on innovation, design and development of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries around the world. He will also focus on expanding the Starbucks Reserve retail store format and the company’s social impact initiatives. He will continue to serve as chairman of the Board.
Schultz joined Starbucks in 1982 as director of retail operations and he helped turn the company into a retail powerhouse and an iconic American brand. He stepped down as CEO in April 2000 to concentrate on executing the company’s global strategy.
But Starbucks struggled without him at the helm and seemed to have lost its way. Schultz returned as CEO in 2008 and helped guide the coffee giant through the Great Recession and get it back on track.
Starbucks plans to open more than 20 roasteries by the end of 2019 and 1,000 reserve stores, which the company said have higher margins than typical Starbucks cafés.
Under Schultz, Starbucks has opened 25,000 coffee shops in 75 countries.