Starbucks announced a new leadership structure on Thursday (Dec. 1) that it said will help to usher in a new wave a digital growth. As of April 3, 2017, the company’s longtime CEO and Chairman Howard Schultz will step down from his role and will be replaced by Starbucks President and COO Kevin Johnson.
With this change, Schultz will take on the role of executive chairman and focus on retail innovation and accelerating the global growth of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries and retail stores, the company confirmed. In this new role Schultz will continue to serve as chairman of the board.
“Starbucks consistently outperforms the retail industry because our stores, our offerings and the experiences our partners create make us a destination,” Schultz said in a statement. “The best evidence of the success of the core strategy driving our business is that we continue to deliver quarter after quarter of record, industry leading revenue, comp sales and profit growth and that the newest classes of Starbucks stores continue to deliver record-breaking revenues, AUVs and ROI, both in the U.S. and around the world.”
“As I focus on Starbucks next wave of retail innovation, I am delighted that Kevin Johnson — our current president, coo, a seven-year board member and my partner in running every facet of Starbucks business over the last two years — has agreed to assume the duties of Starbucks chief executive officer,” he added. “This move ideally positions Starbucks to continue profitably growing our core business around the world into the future.”
Johnson has held the role of COO since March 2015 and been a Starbucks board member since 2009. During that time, he has led the expansion of the company’s global operating businesses and its supply chain, marketing, HR, technology, and mobile and digital platforms.
“Over the past two decades, I have grown to know Starbucks first as a customer, then as a director on the board, and for the past two years as a member of the management team. Through that journey, I fell in love with Starbucks, and I share Howard’s commitment to our mission and values and his optimism for the future,” Johnson said.
“It is an honor for me to serve the more than 300,000 partners who proudly wear the green apron, and I consider it a privilege to work side by side with Howard, our world-class board of directors and a very talented leadership team. Together, we will reaffirm our leadership in all things coffee, enhance the partner experience and exceed the expectations of our customers and shareholders. We believe in using our scale for good and having positive social impact in the communities we serve around the world.”