Howard Schultz, who ran Starbucks (SBUX) on multiple occasions over the last 40 years, is retiring and stepping down from the coffee chain’s board of directors.
Starbucks said Schultz’s retirement is effective immediately and ends his working relationship with the company. The move is part of a previously planned transition strategy.
In March of this year, Schultz stepped down from his third stint as chief executive officer (CEO) of Starbucks, handing the reigns to incoming CEO Laxman Narasimhan.
However, Starbucks announced that Schultz will hold the honourary title of “Chairman Emeritus” now that he is retired.
Schultz is being replaced on Starbucks’ board of directors by Wei Zhang effective October 1 of this year. Zhang was recently a senior advisor to Alibaba Group (BABA).
Schultz has worked for Starbucks in one capacity of another for more than four decades. He first served as CEO in the 1980s and led the company through its initial public offering (IPO) in 1992.
Schultz retired as CEO in 2000 before returning in 2008 and retiring again in 2018.
More recently, Schultz came back to Starbucks in 2022, rejoining the board and becoming CEO for a third time.
Under his leadership, Starbucks has grown to become a coffee giant that today has more than 36,000 stores worldwide and annual sales of $30 billion U.S.
Over the last 18 months, Schultz has battled efforts by Starbucks employees to unionize and launched a reinvention strategy for the coffee brand.
Starbucks’ stock increased 5% over the last 12 months and currently trades at $96.93 U.S. per share. The stock has gained 77% over the past five years.