Mar 16, 2022 - Economy & Business

Howard Schultz returning as Starbucks interim CEO after Johnson retires

Starbuck CEO Kevin Johnson in Chicago in 2019.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson in Chicago in 2019. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson will retire in April after five years in the position and he will be replaced in the interim by former CEO Howard Schultz, the company announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The leadership shift comes as a growing number of Starbucks employees seek to unionize. Five of its stores in Buffalo, New York, and another in Arizona have already voted to form a union.

The big picture: Schultz will return to the company as interim CEO while a permanent leader is found by the fall.

  • Schultz will receive $1 of compensation, and it will mark his third tenure as Starbucks' chief executive.

What they're saying: "A year ago, I signaled 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," Johnson said.

  • "As I make this transition, we are very fortunate to have a founder who is able to step in on an interim basis, giving the board time to further explore potential candidates and make the right long-term succession decision for the company," he added.

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