Outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he won’t be returning for a fourth term
Outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he will never return to the top job after the coffee giant announced a new succession plan last week.
“I’m never going back because we found the right person,” he said Wednesday on CNBC’s Squawk Box.
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Laxman Naramsimhan, who is currently CEO of Reckitt, owner of Lysol, will join the coffee company in October and take over the reins in April. Schultz will remain on the board of directors of Starbucks after Naramsimhan succeeds him and will serve as an advisor.
Schultz, 69, returned to Starbucks for a third time as CEO in April after Kevin Johnson retired. Despite speculation from Wall Street and industry insiders, Schultz firmly stuck to his promise that his current delay would be temporary.
When Johnson announced his retirement, Schultz said he had no previous plans to return to Starbucks. He served as CEO from 1986 to 2000, building the Seattle coffee chain into an industry giant, and again from 2008 to 2017. He also publicly weighed in on a potential presidential candidate ahead of the 2020 election.
While Naramsimhan has yet to officially join Starbucks, Schultz told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin that he’s gotten to know his successor “very well” over the past few months. Prior to taking over Reckitt, Naramsimhan held various positions at PepsiCo and consulting firm McKinsey.
Naramsimhan’s appointment drew a lukewarm response from Wall Street. Schultz’s previous announcement of his departure at the end of 2016 resulted in a double-digit decline in the share price.
Starbucks will hold an investor day in Seattle on Tuesday, when the company is expected to reveal more details about its Schultz-designed reimagining plan.