Howard Schultz is back again at Starbucks
Starbucks is looking for a new CEO following Kevin Johnson’s decision to retire after 13 years at the company.
Mr. Johnson, who has led Starbucks since 2017 when he succeeded Howard Schultz, said that he informed the company’s board over a year ago that he was considering retirement.
The coffee giant’s board said that it has been engaged in continuous succession planning since last year and anticipates it will have a new CEO in place by the fall. Mr. Schultz, who built Starbucks into an international powerhouse, will return on April 4 for his third stint in the CEO position.
“As I make this transition, we are very fortunate to have a founder who is able to step in on an interim basis, giving the board time to further explore potential candidates and make the right long-term succession decision for the company,” said Mr. Johnson in a statement. “I have enjoyed every minute of the job and am proud of what we have achieved together. It has been an honor to serve the 400,000 Starbucks green apron partners around the world and I want to thank them for their service, resilience and optimism.”
Mr. Johnson steps down at a time when the company faces some labor unrest. The chain has sought to forestall union organizing activity that arose as a result of adverse working conditions during the pandemic as demand remained high and staffing was short. Six Starbucks stores have voted to this point to be represented by the Workers United union. Another 130 locations — Starbucks has about 9,000 in the U.S. — are seeking votes through the National Labor Relations Board.
There doesn’t appear to be a clear frontrunner to replace Mr. Johnson as CEO, but Starbucks has plenty of candidates, CNBC reports. These include: John Culver, president and COO of Starbucks North America business; Troy Alstead, former COO and CFO for the company; and Roz Brewer, another Starbucks alum who is currently the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Starbucks might seek to convince Mr. Schultz to remove the interim tag or turn to a board member such as Mary Dillon, former CEO of Ulta Beauty, or Ritch Allison, CEO of Domino’s.
Not making CNBC’s list but also a former Starbucks executive is Michelle Gass. She left the company after 16 years to join Kohl’s as chief customer officer before being named CEO.
- Starbucks Announces Leadership Transition – Starbucks
- Starbucks is searching for its next CEO. Here’s who could be in the running – CNBC
- Is union’s victory at Starbucks a sign of things to come? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your assessment of Starbucks’ business at present? What type of leader does it need at this point in its history?