Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Starbucks' Schultz mulling 'philanthropy to public service'

Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz to step down Modal Trigger Howard Schultz Getty Images
Lloyd Bates | 05 June, 2018, 02:31

Starbucks Corp Executive Chairman Howard Schultz is stepping away from hands-on management at the global coffee chain, effective June 26, fuelling speculation that the outspoken, liberal-leaning executive will make a US presidential bid.

As executive chairman, Schultz oversaw the opening of upscale Reserve stores and massive Roastery showrooms as part of its new Siren Retail initiative.

Howard Schultz previously stepped back from his role at the company in 2016 when he left his duties as CEO and became executive chairman.

Schultz's departure comes a week after the company closed more than 8,000 USA stores to provide racial bias awareness training to around 175,000 employees.

The Seattle-based chain says Schultz will take the title of chairman emeritus as of June 26, and is writing a book about Starbucks' social impact efforts.

Schultz isn't shy about making political statements, and his departure is likely to fuel speculation about whether he could challenge President Trump in 2020 as a Democrat and business leader.

Mr Schultz, who retired as chief executive past year, is to relinquish his seat on the board on 26 June.

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"We realize that four hours of training is not going to solve racial inequity in America", Schultz told CNN's Poppy Harlow last week. "For some time now, I have been deeply concerned about our country - the growing division at home and our standing in the world".

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that he would be retiring as executive officer of the company, and hinted that he might seek public office.

But when asked directly if he was thinking about running for president, he did not rule out the possibility.

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.

The company made headlines in April when police arrested two African-American men while they were waiting for a friend at a Starbucks near Philadelphia.

"I set out to build a company that my father, a blue-collar worker and world war II veteran, never had a chance to work for", Schultz wrote in a letter addressed to past and present Starbucks employees.

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