Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to retire, Howard Schultz to return

Johnson was named chief executive officer in 2017

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson will retire in April after a 13-year tenure at the coffee giant. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SBUX STARBUCKS CORP. 76.34 -1.34 -1.73%

The company's former chief executive, Howard Schultz, will temporarily take over the reins as CEO on April 4 and join the Starbucks board of directors.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Johnson will still serve as a special consultant to the company and remain on board through September.

Starbucks President and COO Kevin Johnson presents during the Starbucks 2016 Investor Day meeting, in New York.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew / AP Newsroom)

Johnson said it was a move Johnson said he had been considering for a while.  

"A year ago, I signaled to the Board that as the global pandemic neared an end, I would be considering retirement from Starbucks," Johnson said in a statement. "I feel this is a natural bookend to my 13 years with the company."

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE  

Johnson was named CEO in 2017, succeeding Schultz who had served as chief executive from 1986 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2017. Previously, Johnson served as president and chief operating officer.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the coffee company's annual shareholders meeting in Seattle in March 18, 2015.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren / AP Newsroom)

Mellody Hobson, the chair of Starbucks' board said Johnson helped the company navigate "one of the most difficult periods in modern history." 

"The economic certainty provided to partners during the early months of the COVID shut down, as well as during mandatory quarantines, underscores our core values and will be an enduring legacy for the company," Hobson said in a statement.

Schultz, who has dabbled in politics and weighed a presidential run, helped shepherd the coffee giant into the global leader it is today. 

The company says its board of directors "has been engaged in continuous CEO succession planning" and expects to find a leader by fall.