Howard Schultz, the 63 year old CEO of Starbucks, who’s been at the helm of the coffee giant twice, is stepping down.
Schultz oversaw the growth of the world’s largest coffee company from its inception in 1992 to 2000, and then again in 2008 after profits crashed (along with pretty much everybody else’s) until it’s horrendous downturn this year. It’s unclear why he’s leaving at this particular point in time, some say he’s determined to run for political office, others say it’s because of his controversial remarks dealing with hiring “10,000 refugees” in the wake of Donald Trump’s travel bans that caused the departure. Any way you look at it, since the beginning of the year, Starbucks has been on a downward slide.
Most of the people that understand this stuff better than I, are pointing to the 10,000 refugee remark. They wonder why the uber-lib didn’t offer 10,000 jobs to returning veterans instead, as several other noble-minded companies have done. Instead, he has continued on a leftist bent that has struck a chord with a lot of eco-minded folks, and lately has upset about half of his base, some of whom have refused to purchase their morning java from a company that is so politically motivated.
You can’t argue with success though, and Schultz has built a company from nothing to a multi-billion dollar giant throughout his 17 years at the helm. Oh, there was some growth between 2000 and 2008, when Schultz had stepped away, but that was basically wiped out in the crash of 2008. But as happens with so many, if you stay too long in a position, you risk losing it all if you make a wrong move. Whether Schultz was forced out because of his political stances, or whether he is looking for a different path, like politics to pursue, is something we will have to wait for up the road.
The future for Starbucks isn’t as crystal clear as it once was. Analysts are quick to point out that it may not be because of Schultz and his leadership, but it will be interesting to watch and see what happens to the coffee juggernaut without Schultz at the helm, and the country moving more to the right. It made sense that with an uber-liberal socialist in the White House, the country would be more apt to accept the liberal stances of the company. Now with a much more moderate president, and congress, and soon Supreme Court, will the country be as accepting to a company whose views are rather out of step with mainstream America? Only time will tell.
And whether we will hear from Howard Schultz again, or whether he slips to that rocking chair on his front porch is a question only time will answer as well!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!