Last Thursday, Starbucks’ announced that CEO Howard Schultz is stepping down next year. On April 3rd, the coffee company’s current President and COO will take over the CEO position while Schultz will serve as executive chairman.
Schultz accomplished much during his tenure as Starbucks’ Chief Executive. In 1988, he took over the fledgling coffee shop. Since then, he managed to grow the business into a brand that is worth $84 billion.
Inspired by his experiences visiting coffee shops in Italy, Schultz set out to make into something that was more than just coffee. He wanted to create an experience. It’s this drive that enabled him to build one of the most popular and enduring brands in the country.
One of Schultz’s most distinguishing characteristics is his commitment to social responsibility. Under his leadership, Starbucks wasn’t just a vehicle for making money. It was a way to make an impact on the societies it served. Starbucks’ has become the archetype for corporate responsibility. Schultz has become the best example of a progressive CEO.
How Schultz Revived Starbucks’
This isn’t the first time Schultz has stepped down. In 2000, he retired from the CEO position. His retirement marked the beginning of a downward spiral for the coffee chain.
It was a period marked by aggressive growth. The chain nearly tripled its number of stores. It was expanding much too fast. This growth did tremendous damage to Starbucks’ brand.
Then, in 2008 the recession hit. People weren’t too keen on four dollar coffee drinks during this period of economic turmoil. Schultz decided to close six hundred stores in order to lower costs.
Not only that, they also temporarily closed its stores in order to retrain their staff. This period of self-reflection and realignment gave the coffee chain what it needed to bounce back.
Kevin Johnson: Starbucks’ New CEO
Before coming to Starbucks, Kevin Johnson was the CEO of tech firm Juniper Networks. He had also worked for Microsoft and IBM. The tech experience that Johnson brought to Starbucks’ is responsible for the coffee chain’s focus on mobile ordering.
As Howard Schultz’s successor, Kevin Johnson has gigantic shoes to fill. While Johnson has acknowledged that he’s not Howard Schultz, he has Schultz’s support. It’s assumed that Johnson’s tech experience will be what Starbucks’ needs as it continues to hone its mobile and digital strategy in the years to come.