Howard Schultz Steps Down as Starbucks CEO: Brewing Other Corporate Initiatives


Effective April next year, the coffee giant's CEO Howard Schultz will step down and hand over his responsibilities to Kevin Johnson, the company's COO who is also a member of the board, citing that Schultz will focus more on Starbucks' other corporate initiatives.

The announcement last week affected Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ SBUX) stocks with a 4% dip but Schultz assured the public that Johnson, the current President and COO, whom he had worked with is better prepared to take on the CEO challenge and bring the company forward.

Before Starbucks, Kevin Johnson has worked in IT. He was with Microsoft for 16 years and also served as CEO of Juniper Networks for 5 years. He is also credited for the company's success in developing and implementing technological innovations that defined and elevated the brand.

Both the company and Schultz clarified that the move has nothing to do with any political aspirations. While Schultz did not dismiss interest in politics, he said that at the moment, he can serve better as a private citizen.

His priority right now is developing 2 new components of the Starbucks portfolio into major brands: the Roasteries and Starbucks Reserve.

Roasteries will offer a taste-room-style experience for premium coffees roasted and packaged in the same facility. Starbucks Reserve will serve premium coffees from the Roasteries.

Schultz plan to take high-end signature coffee brand to an even more higher-end with aims of opening 1,000 Starbucks Reserve stores worldwide and 20 Roasteries.

This isn't the first time that Schultz will step down as the company's CEO, in 2000 he chose to take on the more strategic role of "chief global strategist" and chairman. He returned at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Despite his 8-year hiatus, Schultz was able to turn the company around by tripling profits from $315 million in 2008 to $945 million by 2010.

While he may not have founded Starbucks, Schultz have masterfully redesigned the culture and experience that the company offers. His leadership is one that is defined by passion both for his partners and their customers.

Schultz ideas include offering education benefits, hiring minority workers and veterans and also hiring young people. Another hallmark of Schultz' leadership is the company's stance on societal issues.

By stepping down, he intends to focus on social retail initiatives which Schultz hope will continue to grow the company into the future.

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