In a somewhat surprising move, Howard Schultz announced on Monday that this will be his last month at the helm as executive chairman for Starbucks.
Schultz later went on to admit that his future work may include a life in politics. He acknowledged feeling concern for the state of the nation and the continuing divide between both citizens on the domestic front, as well as globally.
Schultz has been employed by the coffee giant for 36 years, serving in a variety of capacities. It is no secret that the 64-year-old Schultz supports a myriad of Democratic causes and ideals. Despite the controversy, Schultz has remained outspoken about the state of current politics and was one of Hillary Clinton’s most vocal supporters during her failed run for president in 2016. Schultz has continued to criticize President Donald Trump throughout his presidency.
As the leader of the biggest coffee chain in the world, Schultz has repeatedly used his influence to shape the inclusive corporate policies of Starbucks. The company continues to take progressive stances on many social issues, including immigration and gay marriage. The company was praised last year for the announcement of its plans to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years.
Last week, the company closed all of its stores for four hours so that employees could undergo race sensitivity training. The mandatory training was the result of a controversy in April at a Philadelphia Starbucks, in which two black men were arrested for allegedly loitering in the store.
During his time in leadership at Starbucks, Schultz has been known for his commitment to providing health care benefits to all full-time as well as part-time employees. Schultz has also been a pioneer in achieving equity in pay regardless of gender or race.
Following the announcement of Schultz’s resignation, Starbucks communicated that former JCPenney CEO Myron Ullman will move into the role of chair of the Starbucks board. The vice chair position will go to Mellody Hobson, current president of Ariel Investments.