After more than three decades at Starbucks, Howard Schultz has announced that he will be stepping down from his position on the company’s board of directors at the end of this month. Schultz was responsible for transforming Starbucks into the global powerhouse it is today, and held office from 1985 until 2000. This was followed by a four-year hiatus, during which time Schultz returned as CEO from 2008 until his departure in 2017.
In a letter to shareholders, Schultz highlighted his desire to focus on “social impact” initiatives, including building community, increasing access to clean water, and promoting economic opportunity. In the future, Schultz plans to continue to be involved in the coffee industry, but takes this new role outside of the Starbucks organization.
This shift comes as Starbucks is preparing to release strong earnings for the fourth quarter, further demonstrating the successful financial and operational turnaround that the company has experienced since 2017. Schultz will remain on the company’s board of directors through the end of March.