Howard Schultz steps down from Starbucks Board of Directors

Howard Schultz

Starbucks has announced Howard Schultz, the company’s founder and chairman emeritus, will step down from the Board of Directors as part of a planned transition.

“As I reflect on my 41 years with the company, a foundation of love and creative, passionate customer experience has been built by over five million partners around the world who have worked in the company,” says Schultz. “My gratitude to them and the millions of stakeholders and customers that have helped Starbucks endure is beyond measure. I am enormously blessed to have experienced this journey from the ground floor at the company these many years. I look forward to supporting this next generation of leaders to steward Starbucks into the future as a customer, supporter and advocate in my role as chairman emeritus.”

Schultz will now turn his attention with his wife Sheri to focus on a range of philanthropic and entrepreneurial investments to create greater opportunity, accessible to all.

Schultz previously stepped down as Starbucks CEO in March 2023.

“Howard’s vision, courage and deep love and responsibility for partners and this company created a blueprint for us all in how to lead through the lens of humanity,” said Mellody Hobson, independent Starbucks Board of Directors chair. “He put partners and shareholders above himself when he returned to Starbucks as CEO in 2022, working tirelessly.

“On behalf of the board, I offer my deepest thanks and appreciation to him as he steps down. Going forward, we will forever be inspired by his passion, heart, spirit, and commitment to the power of human connection, and we remain grateful for his support of our leaders and confidence in the company.”

Starbucks also announced the election of Wei Zhang to the company’s Board of Directors, effective 1 October. Zhang spent more than a decade leading Alibaba Group’s international business and media strategy, most recently as senior advisor to Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Pictures Group.

“I want to extend a warm welcome to Wei, who brings essential experience in global operations, consumer technology, entertainment and corporate business development to the Starbucks board,” says Laxman Narasimhan, Starbucks CEO.

“I also offer my respect to Howard as he steps down from the board. As we go forward, Starbucks will continue our journey of investment in our people, our business and the communities we serve to deliver outsized returns to all our stakeholders.”

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