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Starbucks CEO steps aside

starbucks-ceo-steps-down
Kevin Johnson (left) and Howard Schultz

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has stepped aside from the CEO role to take up a new role driving innovation, design and development of the Starbucks Roastery and Reserve retail store formats internationally.

He will also oversee the company’s social impact initiatives and continue to serve as chairman.

President and COO Kevin Johnson will expand his responsibilities, assuming the role and responsibilities of president and CEO, effective April 3.

In his current role, since March 2015, Johnson has led the 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 Starbucks board member since 2009, and will continue to serve as a member of the Board.

“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.

Johnson’s career spans 33 years in the technology industry which included a 16-year career 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.

Announcing the changes overnight, Schultz said the company was continuing 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 around the world.

“The truth is, in all my years at Starbucks I have never been more energised or exhilarated about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Schultz said the Roastery concept added a previously unattained level premiumisation into the coffee category.

“Its success is unparalleled, last year achieving a comp sales increase of 24 per cent and delivering a ticket that is four times the ticket of a typical Starbucks store. The Roastery has become a learning laboratory for breakthrough innovation and experiential design and a beacon for the next wave of Starbucks global growth and evolution.”

Starbucks will open at least 20 Roasteries around the world, six by the end of 2019 alone.

“At the same time, elements of the Roastery are forming the basis of the 1000 or more Starbucks Reserve stores we will be opening around the world in the years ahead.”

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