Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz stepping down

Howard Schultz onstage at the annual shareholders meeting in 2017. Schultz is stepping down as Starbucks executive chairman and leaving the company’s board of directors

Howard Schultz is stepping down as Starbucks executive chairman and leaving the company's board of directors, effective June 26, and he hasn't ruled out running for president.

When asked about the 2020 presidential election, he said: "I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service". In the years following his return to Seattle, Schultz purchased Starbucks with the support of local investors and dedicated his career to bringing his vision of a modern coffee house to life in America and around the world.

Schultz, 64, has been serving as executive chairman of Starbucks since stepping down as chief executive in April of a year ago and handing over to Kevin Johnson.

Schultz will also resign from Starbucks' board and will be named chairman emeritus, the company said in a statement. "He's helped Starbucks earn the respect of millions around the world by always being true to a higher calling, and always being bold in creating a better future".

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He had often aligned himself and Starbucks with social issues like race and jobs for underprivileged youth - even when those efforts fell flat, like the "Race Together" campaign that encouraged workers to talk about race with customers. The company also long projected itself as a socially conscious company and promoted its stores as neighborhood gathering places.

This comes after the controversial episode in which two African American men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks for trespassing. The chain closed about 8,000 company-owned stores for an afternoon of anti-bias training last week, a decision that some shareholders questioned for the expense. He's been at the company since 1982-he served as CEO from 1987 to 2000, and then again from 2008 until 2017. He was credited with turning around Starbucks' fortunes. He oversaw the expansion of the chain's food and beverage menu and the growth of its popular loyalty program and mobile app.

"I still feel like a kid from Brooklyn who grew up in public housing", he said.

In the meantime, he plans on working on his family foundation, and writing a book about the social responsibility companies have.

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