Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to retire; Howard Schultz returns as interim chief

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson at the 2017 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, a longtime tech exec who led the espresso large considering that 2017, will retire upcoming thirty day period, the corporation declared Wednesday.

Howard Schultz will return as CEO in an interim job on April 4 and also rejoin the board. Schultz, 68, led the corporation for much more than two a long time just before handing the CEO reins to Johnson.

In a statement, Johnson stated he signaled a prospective retirement to the board a yr in the past.

“I feel this is a pure bookend to my 13 decades with the company,” Johnson stated.

Schultz, who ran a presidential marketing campaign in 2019, will take a wage of $1 as Starbucks finds a everlasting replacement.

“When you enjoy anything, you have a deep sense of duty to assist when known as,” Schultz claimed in a statement. “Although I did not program to return to Starbucks, I know the business need to completely transform when again to meet a new and interesting long run in which all of our stakeholders mutually flourish.”

Johnson, 61, joined the Starbucks board in 2009 and turned COO and president in 2015. He has a lot more than a few many years of working experience doing the job at tech corporations which include IBM, Juniper Networks (he was CEO from 2008 to 2013), and Microsoft, where he led worldwide revenue for two a long time ahead of running the Windows and On line Solutions division for 3 many years, doing the job closely with Monthly bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Johnson was also component of the Nationwide Protection Telecommunications Advisory Committee less than presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He’s included with nonprofits such as NPower and Catalyst supports Youth Eastside Products and services in Seattle and is a board member at Seattle startup Amperity.

Howard Schultz passes the company’s important to incoming CEO Kevin Johnson in 2017. (GeekWire Photograph / Kevin Lisota)

In the course of his 5-calendar year tenure as CEO, Johnson helped Starbucks undertake much more electronic technological know-how as Starbucks has progressed into a tech business that sells espresso, similar to other retail giants likely by way of electronic transformation and investing intensely in the cloud.

In the 2nd quarter of last yr, cell orders represented 26% of U.S. enterprise-operated transactions, up from 18% in the year-in the past period.

Johnson also assisted Starbucks increase its Benefits membership plan, which grew by close to 30% in fiscal calendar year 2021 to 24.8 million users.

Former Starbucks COO Roz Brewer was reportedly envisioned to do well Johnson but she remaining very last calendar year to become CEO of Walgreens.

Shares of Starbucks rose about 50% since Johnson took in excess of as CEO. The inventory was up far more than 5% early Wednesday.

Starbucks has additional than 30,000 stores and employs a lot more than 400,000 men and women.

The announcement comes just in advance of Starbucks hosts its annual shareholders assembly Wednesday. The company’s board has shaped a performing committee to carry out an ongoing research for Johnson’s long term replacement. A conclusion is predicted by this fall.

“On behalf of the total Board, I want to categorical our sincerest many thanks to Kevin for his management of Starbucks. Kevin and the overall government workforce stepped up to the challenge of the pandemic and navigated a person of the most tricky durations in fashionable background,” Mellody Hobson, Independent Starbucks Board of Directors chair, explained in a assertion.