Starbucks chief Howard Schultz resigns, triggers speculation about United States presidential bid

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the coffee companys annual shareholders meeting in Seattle

Starbucks chief Howard Schultz resigns, triggers speculation about United States presidential bid

Starbucks Corp. says Howard Schultz is stepping down as executive chairman this month of the coffee chain he joined more than 30 years ago.

In an interview with the New York Times, Schultz reportedly acknowledged that he may consider public service. When asked about any intentions to run for president, Schulze told the Times that he has been "deeply concerned about our country" for some time now. I'm not exactly sure what that means yet ... The 64-year-old will leave the company by June-end, and take on the role of chairman emeritus, a company statement said.

Since joining the company in the 1980s, Schultz saw Starbucks grow from 11 outlets to 28,000 stores, along the way changing the expectations of consumers when it comes to coffee consumption.

This story will be updated.

There was speculation that Schultz would run for office last election cycle, but he tamped down rumors with an op-ed that stated, "Despite the encouragement of others, I have no intention of entering the presidential fray".

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Schultz, who had returned as the company's CEO in 2008, was credited with turning around Starbucks' fortunes.

Schultz at the opening of a Starbucks location in Tokyo on 2 August 1996.

In the letter, Schultz highlighted Starbucks' social welfare initiatives implemented during his leadership, including offering healthcare benefits to full and part-time employees, free college tuition for employees, ethical sourcing practices, and community service programs. As the Reuters brand for financial commentary, we dissect the big business and economic stories as they break around the world every day. Myron Ullman, the former chairman and CEO of retail giant J.C. Penney, will replace Schultz as executive chairman of the board.

That effort came after a Starbucks cafe manager's call to Philadelphia police in April resulted in the arrests of two black men who were waiting for a friend - leading to protests and accusations of racial profiling at the chain.

"I set out to build a company that my father, a blue-collar worker and World War II veteran, never had a chance to work for", he wrote in a missive addressed today to past and present Starbucks partners.

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