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Money News

Starbucks’ Howard Schultz Steps Down. Is there a Presidential Run Brewing?

June 06, 2018

  • Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz is retiring
  • Rumors are swirling that he’ll run for president in 2020
  • Schultz grew Starbucks from a regional coffeehouse to an international chain with 24,000 stores
1 min read

After decades on the job, Howard Schultz is saying “see you latte.”

Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks, announced that he will leave the Seattle-based company on June 26. Schultz has been with the company for decades, serving two tenures as its CEO—from 1986 until 2000, and from 2008 until 2017, when he moved to the executive chairman role.

“For some time now, I have been deeply concerned about our country—the growing division at home and our standing in the world,” he told the New York Times, regarding his retirement.

He added that he plans to find a way to that he can give back, but that he’s “not exactly sure what that means yet.”

Roasting the competition

Schultz, who has worked for Starbucks since the early 1980s, and has a net worth of more than $3 billion.

Under Schultz, Starbucks grew into an international corporate powerhouse, with more than 24,000 stores around the world, according to company data.

Schultz' net worth
Starbucks stores

Coffee and politics

Starbucks became a leader in corporate social responsibility under Schultz, instituting programs meant to balance profitability with societal well-being. Examples include a tuition reimbursement program, minimizing the company’s environmental footprint, and even closing stores for special training sessions.

The company has also been caught up in a number of controversies, some political, involving labor disputes, the “War on Christmas”, and a request from Schultz in 2013 that customers don’t bring guns into Starbucks stores.

Most recently, the company came under fire following the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store after a manager called the police when the men didn’t place an order while waiting for a friend.

A 2020 presidential contender?

“Let’s just see what happens.” – Howard Schultz

Schultz isn’t denying that he has presidential ambitions, but is still being vague about his future plans. He has been a constant and vocal critic of President Donald Trump, another businessman-turned-politician, wading into the political discourse more so than most other CEOs.

But he’s remained mum on the topic, telling CNBC: “Let’s just see what happens.”

Other business leaders that have speculated about running for president include Disney CEO Robert Iger, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

Another businessman, Mitt Romney, was the Republican nominee during the 2012 presidential election and served as the CEO of Bain Capital.

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By Sam Becker

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