Starbucks CEO stepping down
Howard Schultz, the head of Starbucks, said on Thursday he would step down as CEO of the world’s largest coffee business.
Schultz, 63, will be succeeded on April 3 by Kevin Johnson, 56, the company’s current president and a longtime Starbucks board member.
Schultz will remain at the company as executive chairman and continue to serve as chairman of the board. The company said he will focus on innovation, the design of Starbucks locations and the company’s social impact initiatives.
Schultz’s surprise announcement sent the stock sinking 3 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday.
Schultz had previously served as the company’s chief executive from 1987 to 2000, but returned to the position in 2008 to guide it through the recession and restore growth at the company.
Starbucks has more than 25,000 stores in 75 countries. The company first entered the Chinese mainland market in 1999. Now it has more than 2,400 stores in over 110 cities.
Schultz has said that he wanted to have one new Starbucks every day in China for the next five years.
“What we believe, as a company, is that China will one day probably surpass the size and scale of our business in the US,” Schultz told China Daily during his latest trip to Shanghai in late October.
Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz speaks during the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Seattle in March 2015. Schultz announced on Thursday that he would step down as CEO of the world’s largest coffee business.