Howard Schultz to Step Down as Starbucks Executive Chairman

Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz to step down

"I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service", he added, when asked if he was weighing a presidential run.

Just days before announcing his departure, Schultz - the subject of much speculation about running for the White House in 2020 - blamed President Trump for America's "racial divide".

Schultz's move comes after he ceded the day-to-day duties of CEO at Starbucks past year to focus on innovation and social-impact projects as executive chairman.

In recent years, Schultz has repeatedly denied that he has political ambitions, but he appeared to be more open to the idea in an interview with CNN last week.

Schultz, who has been with Starbucks for almost four decades, is credited with turning the company into a popular household name and growing it from 11 stores to more than 28,000 in 77 countries.

Schultz will also resign from Starbucks' board and will be named chairman emeritus, the company said in a statement.

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"I want to be truthful with you without creating more speculative headlines".

And in a speech to Starbucks shareholders in 2016, Schultz said he feared that the opportunities that allowed him to achieve his American Dream - he grew up in subsidized housing in Brooklyn - have escaped the grasp of too many people. He's been at the company since 1982-he served as CEO from 1987 to 2000, and then again from 2008 until 2017. He oversaw the expansion of the chain's food and beverage menu and the growth of its popular loyalty program and mobile app.

He also credited the company with "balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility".

"I set out to build a company that my father, a blue-collar worker and World War II veteran, never had a chance to work for", Schultz wrote in a letter addressed today to past and present Starbucks partners.

Starbucks shares closed up 0.28 percent at $57.07 in regular Monday trading on the Nasdaq, but were down 1 percent at $56.50.

Starbucks said Myron E. "Mike" Ullman would be the new chairman of the board upon Schultz's retirement.

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