Starbucks says its president and CEO Kevin Johnson will retire after 13 years with the company and founder Howard Schultz will step in as interim CEO from April 4 while the company seeks a permanent replacement.
Johnson, who was named president in 2017, will act as a special consultant to the company until September and return to the company’s board.
“A year ago, I signalled to the board that as the global pandemic neared an end, I would be considering retirement from Starbucks. I feel this is a natural bookend to my 13 years with the company,” said Johnson.
In his time, Johnson launched the People Positive, Planet Positive and Profit Positive framework along with expanding the company’s reach through its Global Coffee Alliance with Nestle, which operates in nearly 80 markets.
Mellody Hobson, Starbucks’ chair, said during Johnson’s tenure, Starbucks scaled an industry-leading digital offering spanning nearly 45 million Starbucks Rewards members in the US and China.
Meanwhile, Schultz said that while he did not plan to return to Starbucks, he knows the company must transform once again “to meet a new and exciting future where all of our stakeholders mutually flourish”.
Schultz will be paid just $1 for his interim role. “When you love something, you have a deep sense of responsibility to help when called.”