Howard Schultz (born July 19, 1953) is an American businessman. He was Chairman and CEO of Starbucks from 1986 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2017, as well as its executive chairman from 2017 to 2018. He is a former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics, and was a member of the Board of Directors at Square, Inc. In 1998 Schultz co-founded Maveron, an investment group, with Dan Levitan. He was named by Forbes in 2016 as the 232nd richest person in the United States, with a net worth of $3.7 billion as of April 2019.
|Education||Northern Michigan University|
|Occupation||Chairman Emeritus, Starbucks|
|Net worth||US$3.7 billion (April 2019)|
|Political party||Democratic (Before 2019)|
Sheri Kersch (m. 1982)
Schultz resigned as CEO of Starbucks and became executive chairman in April 2017. He was succeeded as CEO by Kevin Johnson. Schultz retired as executive chairman in June 2018, becoming chairman emeritus. Long known for his outspoken political views, Schultz announced in January 2019 that he was exploring a run in the 2020 United States presidential election as an independent candidate.
Early life and educationEdit
Schultz was born to a Jewish family on July 19, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Elaine (Lederman) and her husband, ex-United States Army soldier and then truck driver Fred Schultz. With his younger sister, Ronnie, and brother, Michael, he grew up in the Canarsie Bayview Houses of the New York City Housing Authority. He went to Canarsie High School, from which he graduated in 1971. Schultz played high school football and was invited to Northern Michigan University, to compete for a football scholarship. He was not good enough to be quarterback, and didn’t want to play another position. He paid for college with government loans and money earned from part-time jobs. He was the first person in his family to go to college. A member of the Theta-Iota chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon, Schultz received his bachelor's degree in speech communication in 1975.
After graduating, Schultz worked as a salesman for Xerox Corporation and was quickly promoted to a full sales representative. In 1979, he became a general manager for Swedish drip coffee maker manufacturer Hammarplast, where he became responsible for their US operations with a staff of twenty. In 1981, Schultz visited a client of Hammarplast, a fledgling coffee-bean shop called Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle, curious as to why it ordered so many plastic cone filters. He was impressed with the company's knowledge of coffee and kept in contact over the next year, expressing interest in working with them. A year later, he joined Starbucks as the Director of Marketing. On a buying trip to Milan, Italy, for Starbucks, Schultz noted that coffee bars existed on practically every street. He learned that they not only served excellent espresso, they also served as meeting places or public squares; the 200,000 cafés in the country were an important element of Italian culture and society.
On his return, he tried to persuade the owners (including cofounder Jerry Baldwin) to offer traditional espresso beverages in addition to the whole bean coffee, leaf teas and spices they had long offered. After a successful pilot of the cafe concept, the owners refused to roll it out company-wide, saying they did not want to get into the restaurant business. Frustrated, Schultz decided to leave Starbucks in 1985. He needed $400,000 to open the first store and start the business. He did not have the money and his wife was pregnant with their first baby. Jerry Baldwin and Starbucks cofounder Gordon Bowker offered to help. Schultz also received $100,000 from a doctor who was impressed by Schultz's energy to "take a gamble". By 1986, he had raised all the money he needed to open the first store, "Il Giornale", named after the Milanese newspaper of the same name. The store offered ice cream in addition to coffee, had little seating, and played opera music in the background to portray an Italian experience. Two years later, the original Starbucks management decided to focus on Peet's Coffee & Tea and sold its Starbucks retail unit to Schultz and Il Giornale for US$3.8 million.
Schultz renamed Il Giornale with the Starbucks name, and aggressively expanded its reach across the United States. Schultz's keen insight in real estate and his hard-line focus on growth drove him to expand the company rapidly. Schultz did not believe in franchising, and made a point of having Starbucks retain ownership of every domestic outlet. On June 26, 1992, Starbucks had its initial public offering and trading of its common stock under the stock ticker NASDAQ-NMS: SBUX. The offering was done by Alex, Brown & Sons Inc. and Wertheim Schroder & Co. Inc.
On June 1, 2000, Schultz stepped down as CEO of Starbucks, moving to the new position of chief global strategist to help the company expand internationally. On January 8, 2008, Schultz returned as CEO of Starbucks after an eight-year hiatus. Although the company was growing, that growth was largely dependent on opening new stores, while same-store sales were declining. He fired many executives, closed down hundreds of weak stores, hired the company's first Chief Technology Officer, introduced the Starbucks Reward Card, and temporarily closed all US locations to retrain employees in making espresso. The company soon returned to organic growth and investor favor. At this time, Schultz was earning a total compensation of $9,740,471, which included a base salary of $1,190,000, and options granted of $7,786,105.
Schultz again stepped down as CEO in December 2016, assuming the position of executive chairman. On June 4, 2018, Schultz announced that he would leave all positions at Starbucks, as he was considering amongst other options a campaign for President.
Schultz is known for pioneering Starbucks' partnership with Arizona State University, which allows all employees at Starbucks working 20 or more hours a week to qualify for free tuition through ASU's online courses.
Seattle SuperSonics and Seattle StormEdit
In January 2001, Schultz led a group of ten investors who bought the National Basketball Association's Seattle SuperSonics and the Women's National Basketball Association's Seattle Storm from the Ackerley Group for $200 million. During his tenure as the SuperSonics team owner, he was criticized for his naïveté and propensity to run the franchise as a business rather than a sports team. Schultz feuded with player Gary Payton, feeling that Payton disrespected him and the team by not showing up to the first day of training camp in 2002. In February 2006, he stated that the Sonics needed $200 million to renovate KeyArena or build a new arena for the team, and if the Washington State Legislature would not approve this, he would look to sell or move the team.
On July 18, 2006, Schultz sold the team to Clay Bennett, chairman of the Professional Basketball Club LLC, an Oklahoma City ownership group, for $350 million, after having failed to convince the city of Seattle to provide public funding to build a new arena in the Greater Seattle area to replace KeyArena. At the time of the team's sale, it was speculated that the new owners would move the team to their city some time after the 2006–2007 NBA season.
Schultz filed a lawsuit against Bennett – in April 2008 – to rescind the July 2006 sale based on what Schultz claimed was fraud and intentional misrepresentation. However, Schultz dropped the lawsuit in August 2008. When Bennett purchased the SuperSonics and its sister franchise in the WNBA, the Seattle Storm, for $350 million, he agreed to a stipulation that he would make a "good-faith best effort" for one year to keep both teams in Seattle. The sincerity of the good-faith effort was widely disputed by the way Bennett acted and by direct quotes from his partner Aubrey McClendon. On January 8, 2008, Bennett sold the Storm to Force 10 Hoops, LLC, an ownership group of four Seattle women, which kept the team in Seattle.
On July 2, 2008, the city of Seattle reached a settlement with the new ownership group and the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder for the 2008–09 NBA season. The sale to the out-of-state owners considerably damaged Schultz's popularity in Seattle. In a local newspaper poll, Schultz was judged "most responsible" for the team leaving the city.
In his 2019 memoir, From the Ground Up, Schultz, who is still widely disliked in Seattle in relation to the scandal, accepted some responsibility for what happened to the SuperSonics during his tenure.
Schultz wrote the book Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time with Dori Jones Yang in 1997. His second book Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul, co-written with Joanne Gordon, was published in 2011. His third book For Love of Country, co-written with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, was published in 2014.
As of January 2019 his current book promotion is From the Ground Up. In promoting this title at Arizona State University he said "There was chaos, there was trauma, there was rage. I did have a gift and the gift was not an inheritance of money, it was the fact that my mother [had] this belief in America. I think if it wasn't for her, I was not going to be able to escape what happened in my daily life."
Comments about the British economyEdit
Speaking to CNBC in February 2009 about his concerns over the global economic crisis, Schultz said that "the place that concerns us the most is western Europe, and specifically the UK. The UK is in a spiral", expressing concern with the levels of unemployment and consumer confidence in the United Kingdom. Peter Mandelson, then-British Business Secretary, responded saying that the United Kingdom was "not spiralling, although I've noticed Starbucks is in a great deal of trouble", and suggesting that Schultz was projecting his own company's trouble in the United Kingdom onto the wider national economy.
An official comment from Starbucks read that "It is a difficult economic situation in the US and around the world. Please be assured that Starbucks has no intention of criticising the economic situation in the UK. We are all in this together and as a global business we are committed to each and every market we serve."
Awards and honorsEdit
Political views and possible candidacyEdit
In 2012, Schultz began making public statements that led to press speculation that he would run for President of the United States. These included an initiative, announced via an open letter published in various newspapers, that on one day (December 27, 2012), Starbucks employees were asked to write "come together" on all cups distributed, to encourage bipartisanship in the federal government. That same year, he also had Starbucks express support for Washington state's Referendum 74, which legalized same-sex marriage in that state.
There was speculation that he would run in the 2016 US presidential election, but he wrote a New York Times op-ed in August 2015 denying this, stating, "Despite the encouragement of others, I have no intention of entering the presidential fray. I'm not done serving at Starbucks." He ultimately endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in that election.
During his 2019 exploratory bid for the presidency, Schultz framed his candidacy as that of a socially liberal deficit hawk. In January 2019, The Washington Post wrote that Schultz "has not offered many specifics on his policy proposals." In June 2018, Schultz stated in an interview that he thought the national debt is "the greatest threat domestically to the country" and that "we have to go after entitlements." Schultz has described Medicare For All as "not American." Asked in January 2019 what his healthcare proposal was, Schultz answered, "I don't have a plan today. I'm not yet running for president." Schultz opposed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal to raise the marginal tax rate on income over $10 million to 70%, saying it was "punitive" and contrary to the American Dream. Schultz said he supported "comprehensive tax reform". He supported a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who had entered the U.S. as children. He called for greater border security, but opposed President Trump's proposal of a border wall.
Potential 2020 presidential campaignEdit
After Schultz stepped down from Starbucks, political commentators speculated whether he would run in the 2020 United States presidential election, including encouragement from a draft movement called Ready for Schultz. In January 2019, Schultz acknowledged that he was exploring a run for president as an independent candidate in 2020. On January 27, he stated in an interview with 60 Minutes that he was exploring a run for president as an independent, and that he considered running as a centrist.
Schultz's proposed independent candidacy was widely condemned by Democrats who argued that Schultz's third-party candidacy would help to re-elect President Trump by splitting the vote of those opposed to the president. President Trump himself appeared to goad Schultz into running, tweeting that Schultz did not have the "guts." University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato said that Schultz's candidacy was likely to benefit Trump. In response to claims that his candidacy would benefit Trump, Schultz said, "Nobody wants to see Donald Trump removed from office more than me." Schultz said that there was a great potential for a third-party bid, suggesting that 4 in 10 voters were independent swing voters; NPR described this as misleading, citing political science research showing low rates of swing voting and that the overwhelming majority of self-identified independents almost always vote consistently for a preferred party. A February 2019 poll indicated that a Schultz third-party candidacy would strengthen Trump's re-election prospects, as Schultz would draw more support from Democrats than Republicans. Later that month, Schultz said he would consider dropping out of the race if the Democrats nominated "a centrist Democrat."
After announcing that he was exploring a presidential bid in January 2019, Schultz spent most of the time in his first media interviews attacking Democrats, characterizing the proposals of Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris as "extreme", "punitive" and "not American." He shared a column on Twitter by conservative outlet PJ Media which blasted Democrats and described Harris as "shrill" and Warren as "Fauxcahontas," praising the article as "thoughtful analysis"; he later deleted the tweet praising the column.
In 1982, Schultz married Sheri Kersch. They have two children. They live in Seattle's Madison Park neighborhood, having previously lived near Madrona before neighbors voiced their opposition to a plan to build a driveway for the Schultz house through a public park.
Their son Jordan Schultz (born 1986) is a sportswriter for The Huffington Post. Jordan married Breanna Hawes in September 2011; their civil ceremony was followed the same day by a Jewish religious ceremony. Their daughter Addison, a social work clinician for the New York Foundling child welfare agency, married Tal Hirshberg on June 24, 2017.
In 1996, Howard and Sheri Schultz co-founded the Schultz Family Foundation, which currently supports two national initiatives. Onward Youth is aimed at promoting employment for young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are not in school and not working. Onward Veterans aims to help post-9/11 military veterans to successfully transition to civilian life.
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