Howard Schultz returns as Starbucks interim CEO, Kevin Johnson retires

Starbucks Vietnam

Starbucks Corporation has announced that Kevin Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer, intends to retire after a 13-year tenure at the company, including the last five years as CEO.

Johnson will transition from his current role on 4 April 2022 and continue to serve as a Starbucks partner (employee) and special consultant to the company and Board of Directors through to September.

To ensure seamless stewardship of the company until a permanent successor is named, the Board has appointed Howard Schultz as interim CEO, effective 4 April 2022. Schultz will also re-join the company’s Board of Directors, who anticipates selecting a new leader by November.

“On behalf of the entire Board, I want to express our sincerest thanks to Kevin for his leadership of Starbucks. 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,” says Mellody Hobson, Independent Starbucks Board of Directors chair.

“During Kevin’s tenure, Starbucks scaled an industry leading digital offering spanning nearly 45 million Starbucks Rewards members in the US and China.”

Kevin Johnson says he signalled to the Board a year ago as the global pandemic neared an end, he would be considering retirement from Starbucks. He felt this was a natural bookend to his 13 years with the company.

“As I make this transition, we are very fortunate to have a founder who is able to step in on an interim basis, giving the Board time to further explore potential candidates and make the right long-term succession decision for the company,” says Johnson.

“I have enjoyed every minute of the job and am proud of what we have achieved together. It has been an honour to serve the 400,000 Starbucks green apron partners around the world and I want to thank them for their service, resilience and optimism.”

Hobson and Johnson provided an update to shareholders during the webcast 2022 Starbucks Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

“When you love something, you have a deep sense of responsibility to help when called. 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,” says Howard Schultz.

Schultz is volunteering his time as interim CEO to Starbucks and will receive $1 of compensation.

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