Howard Schultz is stepping down as executive chairman of Starbucks, increasing speculation that he will make a run for president in 2020. The company's subsequent reaction - a series of policy changes and last week's high-profile closure of 8,000 USA stores to provide anti-racial bias training to 175,000 employees - marked what Schultz called the start of a new era at Starbucks. Still, the stock may be more volatile, especially around earnings results, as investors worry the company will struggle without its visionary founder, Yarbrough said.
He also credited the company with "balancing profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility".
"It removes a perceived leadership "safety net" and creates a degree of uncertainty at a time when Starbucks faces a number of challenges", said BMO Capital Markets analyst Andrew Strelzik. Schultz won't be entirely absent from the coffee giant, however.
Schultz at the opening of a Starbucks location in Tokyo on 2 August 1996.
Among his many accolades, Schultz has been named as one of The World's Most Influential People by Time magazine as well as Business Person of the Year by Fortune. New York Times recently asked Schultz about this, and while he wouldn't directly answer questions, he suggested that he hasn't ruled out a future in politics and public service.
Starbucks said Myron E. "Mike" Ullman will take over as chairman of the board, and Mellody Hobson will become vice chair (Disclosure: Mellody Hobson is a regular contributor to CBS News). And now Shultz is finally leaving this other leading position.
"There are no words to fully express our gratitude to Howard for the extraordinary company he has built", Johnson said in a statement.
"Starbucks changed the way millions of people drink coffee, this is true, but we also changed people's lives in communities around the world for the better", Schultz said in his letter. He's taught all of us that it's possible to be a very different kind of public company. "I hope I've made you proud to work at Starbucks, and proud to wear the cloth of the company-the green apron". It's been my honor to be in service to our partners. And Starbucks is fortunate to have him.
Schultz is looking forward to spending more time with his family this summer.
Schultz has said his vision for Starbucks was largely inspired by the coffee bars he saw on a visit to Milan many years ago.