Holy Frap! A New Starbucks CEO

By: Meirav Janus  |  April 6, 2022

By Meirav Janus 

After 13 years as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson has announced his retirement, which will go into effect on April 4, 2022. Howard Schultz, who founded Starbucks into the coffee titan it is today, was the CEO for 30 years and has stated he will volunteer to return as interim CEO. Schultz started at the company when there were 11 stores with 100 partners and grew the company to 28,000 stores worldwide, according to the official Starbucks website. In announcing his role as interim CEO, Schultz remarked, “when you love something, you have a deep sense of responsibility to help when called. Although I did not plan to return to Starbucks, I know the company must transform once again to meet a new and exciting future where all our stakeholders mutually flourish.”  The company announced that Schultz will receive $1 dollar in compensation. 

Starbucks’s board of directors publicly thanked Johnson for all that he has done for the company, especially throughout the pandemic, when they were forced to shut down many stores. Johnson, 61, insisted that his retirement was planned and that he informed the board he would retire as soon as the pandemic came to an end. Johnson will continue as a Starbucks partner and has agreed to stay on the company’s Board of Directors through September. Johnson’s resignation comes in the midst of  many employees “who have taken to social media to criticize work conditions and raise other issues at the chain,” according to a New York Times article.

Johnson’s most notable accomplishments as Starbucks CEO was establishing the People Positive, Planet Positive, and Profit Positive framework. According to the Starbucks website, this initiative “seeks to create a better world for Strabucks partners, farmers, customers and the communities it serves.” Johnson, announcing his retirement, said, “I feel this is a natural bookend to my 13 years with the company… I have enjoyed every minute of the job and am proud of what we have achieved together. It has been an honor to serve the 400,000 Starbucks green springs partners around the world.”

The Starbucks website, which published an article on the management change, concluded, “We must continue to earn the trust of our people and our customers every day by how we deliver the Starbucks experience, how we treat each other, and how we act as a responsible community member and corporate citizen… It is critical we set the table for a courageous reimagining and reinvention of the future Starbucks experiences for our partners and customers.”