After growing Starbucks from a humble 11 stores to a worldwide operation with 28,000 locations in 77 countries, Howard Schultz is stepping down as executive chairman and a member of the company’s board of directors. Schultz will become chairman emeritus as of June 26, the coffee chain said in an announcement.
Since the company’s public offering in 1992, the company’s shares have grown by 21,000 percent. In the announcement, the company credited the growth to Schultz’s decision to provide benefits such as free college tuition, stock ownership and comprehensive healthcare to the company’s workers.
“I set out to build a company that my father, a blue-collar worker and World War II veteran, never had a chance to work for,” Schultz wrote in a letter to the company’s past and present employees. “Together we’ve done that, and so much more, by balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor and love and responsibility.”
In the announcement, Starbucks also made public two appointments effective upon Schultz’s retirement: The company’s Board of Directors named Myron E. “Mike” Ullman as its new chair of the board and Mellody Hobson as vice chair.
The news comes after Starbucks announced a new leadership structure in 2016 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 stepped down from his role and was replaced by Starbucks President and COO Kevin Johnson. With the change, Schultz took on role of executive chairman and focused on retail innovation and accelerating the global growth of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries and retail stores.
“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 at the time. “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 recordbreaking revenues, AUVs and ROI, both in the U.S. and around the world.”