News broke yesterday that Starbucks co-founder Howard Schultz is stepping down as CEO of the company. But this isn’t a goodbye to Schultz, it’s more of a “smell ya later.” According to Reuters, he is moving into a position as executive chairman that will allow him to focus entirely on growing Reserve, Starbucks’ ultra-high end concept.
Schultz will step into this new role in April of the upcoming year, marking the second such time he has stepped down as CEO of the mega coffee chain; Reuters notes that he stepped down in 2000 only to return in 2008 after seeing the company undergo a decline in his absence. But instead of riding off into the sunset, Schultz is going to concentrate on building the Reserve brand and “[showcasing] Roastery and Tasting Rooms around the world as well as setting the brand’s “social impact agenda” that includes sending employees to college and recruiting veterans.”
Schultz is described as the “heart and soul of the brand” and he never shied away from controversial campaigns; #RaceTogether was a good-intentioned but abject failure, Starbuck’s Upstanders video series saw a mild uptick in discontent (though that was mostly overblown), and Schultz was an outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, which is really only controversial if you think CEOs of companies shouldn’t express political opinions different from your own.
It remains to be seen how his absence will affect not only the brand’s social consciousness but its overall success. I mean, Schultz had to come back once already. Only time will tell. So let’s not call this goodbye. It’s just “smell ya later.”
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.
*top image via Reuters