Howard Schultz is stepping down as Starbucks’ executive chair


Executive Chairman of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, has stepped down from his position, and claims have circulated that the socially conscious CEO might run for president in 2020.

Schultz's move comes after he ceded the day-to-day duties of CEO at Starbucks past year to focus on innovation and social-impact projects as executive chairman. The company's subsequent reaction - a series of policy changes and last week's high-profile closure of 8,000 US stores to provide anti-racial bias training to 175,000 employees - marked what Schultz called the start of a new era at Starbucks.

Schultz elevated the concept of Starbucks as the third place between home and work: a comfortable, welcoming environment that provides uplifting experiences, community and human connection.

Schultz, 64, who grew Starbucks from 11 stores to more than 28,000 stores in 77 countries during his time at the helm, will become chairman emeritus on June 26, the company said in a statement.

But when asked directly if he was thinking about running for president, he did not rule out the possibility. He spoke to the growing division in the country and America's standing in the world.

"I told myself a long time ago that if I was ever going to explore a second act, I couldn't do it while still at the company", he added.

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"One of the things I want to do in my next chapter is to figure out if there is a role I can play in giving back", he continued.

Schultz said Monday that Kevin Johnson "is a true servant leader" who will lead the company into the future.

Starbucks was rocked by scandal in April, following the arrest of two black customers at a store in Philadelphia.

In his letter, Schultz also credited the company with "balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility".

"Ullman, former chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney, was named chair, while Mellody Hobson, president and director of Chicago-based investment management firm Ariel Investments, will be named vice chair", reports CNBC.

Starbucks shares were down 1.31 percent to $56.32 in after-hours trading on Wall Street.