Money & Power

Starbucks Exec Steps Down, Rumored to Run for U.S. President

The executive chairman of Starbucks just stepped down from the coffee company, fueling speculation that he'll run for president.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES/ PIER MARCO TACCA
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  • Howard Schultz, the executive chairman and former longtime CEO of Starbucks stepped down today.
  • His retirement is fueling rumors that he might run for US president in 2020.

    Howard Schultz is stepping down from his position as executive chairman of Starbucks, according to a memo made public by the Seattle-based coffee company on Monday afternoon.

    "On June 26, 2018, I will officially leave Starbucks and become chairman emeritus," Schultz writes, casually mentioning that he was "enjoying a French Press of my favorite coffee, aged Sumatra, and feeling so many emotions."

    "This will be an emotional transition, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my family this summer."

    Schultz continued that he was also at work on a book about Starbucks social impact work and "our efforts to redefine the role and responsibility of a public company in an ever-changing society."

    His letter immediately had people speculating if he might launch a campaign for president in 2020. "I’ll be thinking about a range of options for myself, from philanthropy to public service, but I’m a long way from knowing what the future holds," he wrote.

    A new interview in the New York Times is further fueling rumors that he might run as an independent. "I want to be truthful with you without creating more speculative headlines,” he told the paper. “For some time now, I have been deeply concerned about our country—the growing division at home and our standing in the world.”

    When asked directly whether he plans to run or not, he said, "I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future."

    Well, that's definitely not a "no."

    President Trump's election in 2016 makes Schultz's political ambitions, whatever they may be, at least a little bit more realistic. Trump's win proved that a political outsider could not only beat a political dynasty but also that operating outside of the traditional party fundraising system appeals to a certain type of voter.

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    Should he want to bootstrap his own campaign, Schultz certainly has the cash. Forbes reports that the 64-year-old's fortune is $2.7 billion, a sum amassed through his years as the CEO of Starbucks. (He stepped down from that position in 2017, when he became the executive chairman of the company.) In 2016, Bloomberg cited his salary as $21.8 million in 2016. And according to CNBC, he "currently owns 37.8 million shares of Starbucks, or a 3 percent stake, worth about $2.17 billion."

    This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
    * Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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    Caroline Hallemann
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