Howard Schultz, chief executive officer at Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks, is taking on a new role with the company. Schultz is stepping down as CEO, he announced Thursday, and he will take the position of executive chairman. Starbucks chief operating officer Kevin Johnson will replace Schultz as CEO.
The changes will take effect on April 3, 2017, and going forward, Schultz will focus on the company’s fancy Reserve brand. In a statement, he said the move “ideally positions Starbucks to continue profitably growing our core business around the world into the future.”
Schultz served as CEO from 1987 to 2000, and reclaimed his old job in 2008. He has overseen global growth for the chain, and he’s made efforts to improve Starbucks culture and working conditions. In July, he announced pay raises for thousands of employees. The company has also put money toward baristas’ education under Schultz’s watch. Although, not every initiative has been a success (Starbucks’ “Race Together” campaign and its “Upstanders” series come to mind).
In a statement announcing his new role, Johnson indicated he would continue the work Schultz has done as CEO: “We believe in using our scale for good and having positive social impact in the communities we serve around the world.”