You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Howard Schultz to return as interim Starbucks CEO after Kevin Johnson announces retirement

Business Insider logo Business Insider 3/16/2022 gdean@insider.com (Grace Dean)
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. Stephen Brashear/Getty Images © Stephen Brashear/Getty Images Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
  • Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is stepping down on April 4, the company said Wednesday.
  • Howard Schultz, who was the coffee chain's CEO before Johnson, will be his interim replacement.
  • Starbucks said that its board anticipated selecting a new permanent CEO by the fall.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is stepping down on April 4, the coffee chain announced Wednesday.

Johnson has been on the company's board for 13 years and has served as CEO since April 2017.

Howard Schultz, who was the coffee chain's CEO before Johnson, will be his interim replacement.

In a statement, Johnson said that he had told the Starbucks board a year ago that he was considering retiring from the company as the pandemic wound down.

"I feel this is a natural bookend to my 13 years with the company," he said.

Starbucks said that CEO succession planning has been underway since 2021, and that the board anticipated selecting a new permanent CEO by the fall. The company said that the board had already found "a strong slate of potential candidates."

Until the new CEO is named, Schultz will serve as the company's interim CEO. Starbucks said that Schultz, who had previously served as the chain's CEO for more than two decades, was "singularly qualified" for the role. Schultz will rejoin the company's board and also help the company both recruit and onboard its next CEO.


Video: Starbucks increasing efforts to recruit and maintain diverse talent (Yahoo! Finance)

Replay Video

Starbucks said that Schultz was volunteering as interim CEO and would only receive $1 in compensation.

"When you love something, you have a deep sense of responsibility to help when called," Schultz said in a statement.

"Although I did not plan to return to Starbucks, I know the company must transform once again to meet a new and exciting future where all of our stakeholders mutually flourish."

Johnson is leaving the company amid a wave of unionization at Starbucks. Workers have organized at six stores in New York and Arizona.

As a result of the pandemic, Starbucks has had to grapple with a lack of staff, supply-chain chaos, and soaring inflation. But while some other restaurants struggled, Starbucks' drive-thrus and mobile orders have helped its sales grow, and it opened more new stores than McDonald's and Subway during the pandemic.

"On behalf of the entire Board, I want to express our sincerest thanks to Kevin for his leadership of Starbucks," Mellody Hobson, chair of Starbucks' board of directors, said. "Kevin and the entire executive team stepped up to the challenge of the pandemic and navigated one of the most difficult periods in modern history."

In the statement, Johnson thanked Starbucks' roughly 400,000 baristas "for their service, resilience, and optimism."

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider
AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Business Insider

Business Insider
Business Insider
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon