Howard Schultz to relinquish role as Starbucks CEO

Starbucks Howard Schultz

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will relinquish his duties as the coffee giant’s chief executive come April, at which time the chain’s COO, Kevin Johnson, will take up the post, Starbucks said today.

Effective April 3, Schultz will serve as the chain’s executive chairman, turning his focus to the expansion of Starbucks’ higher-end Reserve Roastery concept and retail line, according to the chain. In addition, he will continue to have a hand in the brand’s social initiatives.

“As I focus on Starbucks' next wave of retail innovation, I am delighted that Kevin Johnson—our current president, COO, a seven-year board member and my partner in running every facet of Starbucks business over the last two years—has agreed to assume the duties of Starbucks' chief executive office,” Schultz said in a statement.

Johnson has held the role of Starbucks president and COO since March 2015.

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