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Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Announces Departure from Company’s Board

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Steps Down from Board in Planned Transition

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is set to step down from the coffee chain’s board, marking the latest chapter in a planned transition for the company. Schultz, 70, who completed his third stint as Starbucks’ chief executive in March, didn’t provide a specific reason for his exit.

“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 said in a statement.

During his recent tenure as CEO, which lasted for 11 months, Schultz spearheaded several key initiatives aimed at modernizing Starbucks’ cafes, enhancing relations with its baristas, and driving further sales growth. Notably, he played a central role in the launch of Starbucks Oleato, a line of olive oil-infused beverages.

However, some of Schultz’s actions during this time generated controversy, particularly his aggressive stance against baristas unionizing. This stance made him a target for criticism from Starbucks Workers United and political figures like Sen. Bernie Sanders. Schultz even faced questioning before a Senate committee over allegations of union busting shortly after stepping down as CEO.

Despite his departure from the board, Schultz made it clear that he has no intentions of returning as CEO, a role he’s held twice in the past. He previously stepped down from Starbucks’ board in June 2018 in preparation for a potential presidential run, a bid he ultimately did not pursue. Kevin Johnson succeeded him as CEO in 2017.

As Schultz leaves his board position, Wei Zhang will take his seat. Zhang brings a wealth of experience, having served as a senior advisor to Alibaba and president of Alibaba Pictures Group. Her deep knowledge of the Chinese e-commerce giant could prove beneficial for Starbucks, particularly as it seeks to revitalize its Chinese business. China ranks as Starbucks’ second-largest market, and innovations such as mobile ordering, born in the Chinese market, have influenced changes in the company’s U.S. operations.

Zhang’s career also includes roles at News Corp China, CNBC China, Bain, and General Electric. She currently serves on the board of Ralph Lauren. Her appointment to Starbucks’ board adds to the diversity of its leadership, as she becomes the third woman among the nine-person board, joining Chair Mellody Hobson and Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford.

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Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay
Ruben Jay is an American broadcaster, media blogger, and podcast host. Currently, Ruben is the President of MultiMediaMouth.com and the executive producer and host of the popular podcasts You’re My Best Friend and ON AIR with Ruben Jay, exclusively on MultiMediaMouth.com. Follow Ruben on Instagram, Twitter, and Tiktok @TheRubenJay.

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