×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Howard Schultz to Retire from Starbucks, With Speculation of 2020 White House Bid

WASHINGTON — Howard Schultz is stepping down as executive chairman of Starbucks, increasing speculation that he will make a run for president in 2020.

Since joining the company in the 1980s, Schultz saw Starbucks grow from 11 outlets to 28,000 stores, along the way changing the expectations of consumers when it comes to coffee consumption.

He also has been noted for his socially conscious approach to the company, and he has long been floated as a prospect for a presidential run. He certainly did not dissuade that talk on Monday. When asked by The New York Times whether he would consider it, he said, “I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future.”

Schultz will take the title of chairman emeritus on June 26. Myron E. “Mike” Ullman will serve as the new chairman of the board and Mellody Hobson will serve as vice chair when Schultz retires.

Schultz has at times been outspoken about politics and other social issues, diverging from many atop the corporate ladder who don’t want to risk offending political figures or their customer base. Just last week, he said on CNN that the Trump’s rhetoric has “given license to people to feel as if they can emulate and copy the kind of behavior and language that comes out of this administration.”

He had been on CNN to talk about Starbucks’ move to close 8,000 company stores for special training following an incident in Philadelphia in which an employee called the police on two African American men who were waiting in a Starbucks store for a friend.

The company has been embroiled in controversy over other issues, such as when Schultz requested in 2013 that patrons not bring firearms into stores. He also has spoken out against Trump’s refugee ban and expressed support for Dreamers, the undocumented immigrants who entered the United States when they were children.

Schultz stepped down as CEO last year and was succeeded by Kevin Johnson.

“I set out to build a company that my father, a blue-collar worker and World War II veteran, never had a chance to work for,” Schultz said in a letter to employees announcing his retirement. “Together we’ve done that, and so much more, by balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility.”

Schultz is among a number of corporate executives who have weighed presidential bids, apparently fueled by the ability of Trump to win the White House without having held any prior political office. Robert Iger, the CEO of the Walt Disney Co., considered a bid until he signed a new contract, and Dallas Mavericks owner and producer Mark Cuban also has been weighing a candidacy.

Popular on Variety

More Politics

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court Justice

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg Treated for Pancreatic Cancer

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has been cleared “definitively” of pancreatic cancer after spending three weeks undergoing treatment in New York City for the illness. The Supreme Court issued a statement on Friday saying that the Justice responded well to radiation treatment. In early July, Ginsberg underwent a regular blood test that came back abnormal, and [...]

  • Taylor SwiftTeen Choice Awards, Arrivals, Los

    Taylor Swift Says She's 'Remorseful' For Not Getting Involved in 2016 Election

    Taylor Swift says she feels “really remorseful for not saying anything” during Trump’s run for presidency in 2016, per an interview with the Guardian published today. The singer points to her negative public image during the time of the election as one reason she stayed uninvolved, but explained that she would’ve endorsed Hillary Clinton for [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • David Koch Obit

    David Koch, Libertarian Activist and Billionaire Philanthropist, Dies at 79

    David Koch, brother of Charles Koch and one of the owners of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the U.S., has died at 79. According to the New York Times, Charles Koch announced the news of his brother’s death in a statement. Though he did not attribute to David’s death to a particular cause, [...]

  • Pod Save America Hosts on Trump

    'Pod Save America' Hosts on Trump, the Democratic Primary and What's Wrong With Cable News

    Like many Democrats, Tanya Somanader was blindsided by the 2016 presidential election. A veteran of the Obama White House and a former speechwriter and digital specialist for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Somanader was gearing up for a Hillary Clinton administration. Instead, she had to grapple with the reality of a Donald Trump presidency. “A lot [...]

  • Sean Spicer Dancing With the Stars

    Sean Spicer Hopes 'Dancing With the Stars' Gig Will 'Move the Country Forward'

    In the face of a swift backlash, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he hoped his role as a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” can help “move the country forward in a positive way.” Spicer told CNN on Thursday that his “DWTS” posting was about entertainment, not politics. ABC revealed Spicer [...]

  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro attends a

    Bolsonaro LGBTQI Outburst, Subsidy Freeze, Stirs Outrage

    Ramping up the drive into censorship in Brazil, its Minister of Citizenship, Omar Terra, has suspended a call for applications for governmental TV funding – until new criteria are established for its application. The country’s secretary for culture, Henrique Pires, who reports to Terra, has resigned in protest of the incentive freeze. The suspension, for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content