Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO, has officially stepped down from his position as a board member on the Starbucks Board of Directors. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Schultz, he was largely responsible for transforming the company from a provincial Seattle coffee stand to a global multi-billion dollar juggernaught that it is today.
Schultz worked at Starbucks for over three decades, rising from an entry level position to eventually become its CEO in 1986. During his tenure, the company went from 5 stores to over 30,000 in 77 different countries. He also developed groundbreaking initiatives such as introducing Frappuccinos, adding bakery items to the menu, and expanding into music streaming and loyalty programs.
It’s unclear what will happen with Schultz’s role within Starbucks, but his influence over the company will be missed. According to Schultz, he made the decision to step down because “the commitments and responsibilities…have taken a physical and emotional toll on me and my family”.
Despite his departure from the Board, Schultz made sure to let everyone know that he still cares about the company’s success. He released a statement expressing his enthusiasm and confidence in Ronald Nelson, current Chairman and Chief Operating Office, to “continue leading Starbucks with distinction and great ambition”.
It’s hard to imagine Starbucks without its founding father Howard Schultz, but his decision to step down is likely for the best. For many of us, Schultz is a legend, an example of how entrepreneurs can transform a small, local business into a global powerhouse. Whether or not Starbucks will find another leader of Schultz’s caliber remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Schultz’s legacy will live on in the company for years to come.