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Issue Date: Vol. 56, No. 12, December 2016, Posted On: 12/1/2016

Howard Schultz Will Step Down As Starbucks CEO To Focus On High-End 'Reserve' Coffee Shops

Nick Montano
TAGS: Starbucks Corp., Howard Schultz, Kevin Johnson, Starbucks Reserve Roasteries, office coffee service, coffee news

SEATTLE -- Starbucks Corp. announced that Howard Schultz is stepping down as chief executive, effective April 3. Schultz, 63, reportedly will devote his time to opening new high-end retail shops for the coffeehouse giant.

President and chief operating officer Kevin Johnson, who served as a board member of the company for several years before joining its executive team two years ago, will assume the role of chief executive on April 3. Schultz will remain chairman of Starbucks and said he has no plans to step away from the company.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Schultz also has no plans to run for political office, as many have speculated in the past, citing his vocal stance on such issues as veterans' rights and jobs creation.

In his new role, Schultz will focus on the design and development of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries around the world, expansion of the Starbucks Reserve retail store format and the company's social impact initiatives.

Johnson's career spans 33 years in the technology industry, which included a 16-year career at Microsoft and a five-year tour as chief executive of Juniper Networks. At Microsoft, he led worldwide sales and marketing, and became the president of the platforms division. In 2008, he was appointed to the National Security Telecommunication Advisory Committee, where he served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He joined the Starbucks board in 2009 and its management team in 2015.

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