SBUX Stock News: 7 Things to Know as Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson Steps Down


Shares of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) stock are trading higher by over 7% this morning after a new interim CEO was announced. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will become the interim CEO of the company until a replacement can be found, which is expected to happen by this fall. Schultz was previously the CEO until 2017, when Kevin Johnson took over. Schultz will start as interim CEO on April 4.

the Starbucks (SBUX) logo on a sign outside of a coffee shop
Source: Grand Warszawski /

Previously, Johnson had hinted he would step down. He recently explained:

“A year ago, I signaled to the Board that as the global pandemic neared an end, I would be considering retirement from Starbucks. I feel this is a natural bookend to my 13 years with the company.”

In recent months, Johnson’s achievements with Starbucks have been overshadowed by unionization efforts. Over the course of his tenure as CEO, SBUX stock has increased by more than 50%. Johnson has also worked to digitalize Starbucks and revitalize its loyalty program to attract customers. Additionally, the CEO oversaw the company’s expansion into China, which is now Starbuck’s second-largest market. Starbucks’ revenue grew by about 30% from 2017 to 2021. However, gross profit margins also fell from 30.6% to 28.9% during that period.

Moving forward, Schultz did not initially plan on returning to Starbucks. He added:

“When you love something, you have a deep sense of responsibility to help when called. Although I did not plan to return to Starbucks, I know the company must transform once again to meet a new and exciting future where all of our stakeholders mutually flourish.”

What else should you know about Howard Schultz’s return? Let’s jump right in.

SBUX Stock: 7 Things to Know About CEO Kevin Johnson’s Departure

  1. In 1987, Starbucks had 11 stores. By 2018, the company operated more than 28,000 stores across 77 countries, largely led by Schultz’s leadership.
  2. Schultz previously served as CEO from 1987 to 2000. He then took the role again from 2008 to 2017.
  3. Additionally, Schultz accepted a salary of $1 during much of his second tenure.
  4. As interim CEO, Schultz will “focus on setting an innovation framework, while also coaching and onboarding the next permanent CEO of Starbucks.”
  5. Schultz previously worked on expanding the company’s “premium brand” during his tenures as CEO.
  6. As CEO, Johnson had opted to work on “improving the company’s operations and efficiency.”
  7. Kevin Johnson first joined Starbucks in 2009. In 2015, Johnson was elected as president and COO.

On the date of publication, Eddie Pan did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Eddie Pan specializes in institutional investments and insider activity. He writes for InvestorPlace’s Today’s Market team, which centers on the latest news involving popular stocks.

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