Starbucks Corp. CEO Howard Schultz is stepping down from his role to become executive chairman “and focus on retail innovation and accelerating growth of Starbucks ultra-premium retail formats,” the company announced Thursday.
President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson, 56, will become the CEO for the coffee chain. He will assume full responsibility for Starbucks’ global business and operations, according to the company.
The changes take effect April 3.
Schultz, 63, said he has no plans to step away from the company or run for political office, according to an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
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According to the Journal interview: “I don’t have any time horizon that would limit my engagement in the company,” he said. “This gives me the entrepreneurial freedom to do what I think I do best.”
In Thursday’s news release, Schultz said: “As I focus on Starbucks next wave of retail innovation, I am delighted that Kevin Johnson — our current president, COO, a seven-year board member and my partner in running every facet of Starbucks business over the last two years — has agreed to assume the duties of Starbucks chief executive officer. This move ideally positions Starbucks to continue profitably growing our core business around the world into the future.”
Johnson’s career also included a 16-year stint at Microsoft, where he led global sales and marketing, according to Starbucks’ news release.
This story will be updated.