The Starbucks Corporation informed media that the CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz is stepping down this month. Myron E. “Mike” Ullman would be the new chairman upon Schultz’s retirement.
Howard Schultz joined coffee chain group 30 years ago. He oversaw the transformation of Starbucks into a global chain with more than 28,000 locations.
He is now focused on innovation and social impact projects and also writing a book about Starbucks’ social impact efforts.
“Starbucks changed the way millions of people drink coffee, this is true, but we also changed people’s lives in communities around the world for the better,” Schultz said in a letter to Starbucks employees.
Schultz said he was considering “a range of options for myself, from philanthropy to public service,” but wasn’t sure what the future would hold.
He had endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before the last presidential election and had sometimes deflected questions about whether he would run for office.
More recently, as the company tried to restore its reputation after the arrest of two black men at a coffee shop in Philadelphia, Schultz said he didn’t want people to feel “less than” if they were refused bathroom access.
Last week, the company closed its US stores for several hours for bias awareness training, one of the measures it promised after the men in Philadelphia were arrested as they waited for an associate but hadn’t bought anything.
In his letter, Schultz also credited the company with “balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility.”
“Please remember, Starbucks is at its best when our stores and offices are welcoming places for everyone,” he said in his letter. Schultz, who had returned as the company’s CEO in 2008, was credited with turning around Starbucks’ fortunes.