Starbucks names Kevin Johnson CEO; Howard Schultz becomes exec chairman

Starbucks Corporation announced that Kevin Johnson, president and chief operating officer, will expand his responsibilities and assume the role and responsibilities of president and chief executive officer, effective April 3, 2017.

Also effective April 3, 2017, Howard Schultz, chairman and CEO, will be appointed executive chairman and will shift his focus to innovation, design and development of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries around the world, expansion of the Starbucks Reserve retail store format and the company’s social impact initiatives. In this new role, Schultz will continue to serve as chairman of the board.

“Starbucks consistently outperforms the retail industry because our stores, our offerings and the experiences our partners create make us a destination. The best evidence of the success of the core strategy driving our business is that we continue to deliver quarter after quarter of record, industry leading revenue, comp sales and profit growth, and that the newest classes of Starbucks stores continue to deliver record-breaking revenues, AUV’s and ROI both in the U.S. and around the world,” said Schultz during the call announcing the appointment. “As I focus on Starbucks next wave of retail innovation, I am delighted that Kevin Johnson – my partner in running every facet of Starbucks business over the last two years – has agreed to assume the duties of Starbucks CEO. This move ideally positions Starbucks to continue profitably growing our core business around the world into the future.”

As president and COO since March 2015, Johnson has led the Seattle, Washington-based company’s global operating businesses across all geographies as well as the core support functions of Starbucks supply chain, marketing, human resources, technology, and mobile and digital platforms. Johnson has been a member of Starbucks board of directors since 2009, and will continue to serve as a member of the Board.

Johnson’s career spans 33 years in the technology industry which included 16-years at Microsoft and a five-year tour as CEO of Juniper Networks. At Microsoft, he led worldwide sales and marketing and became the president of the Platforms Division. In 2008, he was appointed to the National Security Telecommunication Advisory Committee where he served Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He joined the Starbucks board in 2009 and the management team in 2015.

Schultz said that Johnson brings to the CEO role, “an unparalleled understanding of the market dynamics and strategic choices that have driven Starbucks to become one of the world’s most recognized and respected companies and brand. We share a passion for customer-focused innovation and a commitment to preserving Starbucks heritage. Our complementary backgrounds – my entrepreneurial journey building Starbucks and Kevin’s decades spent scaling global businesses – will continue to help Starbucks navigate this new period of worldwide growth and innovation.”

“Over the past two decades, I have grown to know Starbucks first as a customer, then as a director on the board, and for the past two years as a member of the management team. Through that journey, I fell in love with Starbucks and I share Howard’s commitment to our mission and values and his optimism for the future,” said Johnson during the call.  “It is an honor for me to serve the more than 300,000 partners who proudly wear the green apron and I consider it a privilege to work side-by-side with Howard, our world-class board of directors, and a very talented leadership team. Together, we will reaffirm our leadership in all things coffee, enhance the partner experience and exceed the expectations of our customers and shareholders.  We believe in using our scale for good and having positive social impact in the communities we serve around the world. I want to thank Howard for his faith in me, his ongoing partnership, and the immeasurable gifts he has given so many for so long. I am honored to serve as the chief executive of a company that has a role and responsibility – and a deep opportunity – to create value for so many.”

Schultz said he would remain Starbucks executive chairman, focusing full-time on the growth opportunities in expanding the Starbucks Roasteries and building out our portfolio of Reserve stores and on Starbucks social impact agenda. During the call, he said Starbucks will open at least 20 Roasteries around the world, six by the end of calendar 2019. “The truth is, in all my years at Starbucks I have never been more energized or exhilarated about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

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