Starbucks' Howard Schultz to step down as CEO

Schultz is credited with doubling the company's revenues since he returned for his second stint in 2008. Photograph:( AFP )

New York, NY, United States Dec 02, 2016, 01.32 PM (IST)

Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz is stepping down as CEO to focus on new high-end coffee shops, handing over to chief operating officer Kevin Johnson, PTI reported.

Schultz, 63, will continue to serve as chairman of the board and will be the executive chairman from April 2017.

In the new role, Schultz will focus on the "next wave of retail innovation", design and development of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries around the world, expansion of the Starbucks Reserve retail store format and social impact initiatives, the company said.

"I will remain Starbucks executive chairman, focusing full-time on the incredible growth opportunities we have in expanding Roasteries and building out our portfolio of Reserve stores and on Starbucks social impact agenda which will be a significant part of the focus going forward," PTI reported Schultz as saying in a media conference yesterday.

Schultz is credited with doubling the company's revenues since he returned for his second stint in 2008, surpassing USD 20 billion for the first time over the past 12 months.

Starbucks now has 25,000 stores in 75 countries, including India.

Schultz's career spans 33 years in the technology industry - a 16-year career at Microsoft and in 2008, he was appointed to the National Security Telecommunication Advisory Committee of Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama.

Schultz said that the Roastery has "become a learning laboratory for breakthrough innovation and experiential design and a beacon for the next wave of Starbucks global growth and evolution."

"We share a passion for customer-focused innovation and a commitment to preserving Starbucks heritage. Our complementary backgrounds my entrepreneurial journey building Starbucks and Kevin's decades spent scaling global businesses will continue to help Starbucks navigate this new period of worldwide growth and innovation," he said about Johnson.

(WION with inputs from PTI)