Howard Schultz to Step Down as Starbucks Chief Next Year

One of my heroes, whom I respect for their leadership styles, includes the CEO and founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz. He is stepping down as CEO and is handing his role to Kevin Johnson, a well-liked insider. Howard isn’t going away however, which you will see. He will be in charge of key business expansion modules. Keep in mind, the innovator leaves a legacy “that includes [sic] pioneering social and philanthropic programs: In 1988, the company introduced full health benefits for full and part-time employees along with their domestic partners; in 1991 it was the first privately owned American company to include part-time workers in its stock-option program; and so on, with efforts that have included the “ethical sourcing” of ingredients, a college degree program for baristas, and cups that use recycled materials.” At 63, he leaves a huge company overseeing world’s largest coffee business, with over 25,000 stores in 75 countries. Starbucks is currently averaging the opening of 2,000 stores each year.

On a side note, when I came to Chicago in November of 1991, I looked for an apartment sitting at one of the few Starbucks in Chicago. Twenty-five years later, there are roughly 164 stores in town (2014 data). Howard Schultz continues to demonstrate that leadership can have integrity and a foundation of universal values. Let’s honor him for his contributions as a hero of leadership and you can expect to see his future contributions in his new role.

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