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Howard Schultz

Also Known As Howard D. Schultz

CEO, StarbucksOwner Seattle Supersonics

Howard Schultz's profile picture

Howard D. Schultz is an American businessman and author who served as both chairman and CEO of Starbucks (SBUX ) from 1986 to 2000, from 2008 to 2017, and as interim CEO since 2022. Schultz also owned the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team from 2001 to 2006.

Schultz began working at the coffeehouse, Starbucks, in 1982. He later left and opened Il Giornale, a specialty coffeeshop, that merged with Starbucks during the late-1980s. Under Schultz, the company established a large network of stores which has influenced coffee culture in Seattle, the U.S., and internationally. Following large-scale distribution deals Starbucks became the largest coffee-house chain in the world. Schultz took the company public in 1992 and used a $271 million valuation to double their store count in a series of highly publicized coffee wars. He stepped down as CEO in 2000, succeeded by Orin Smith.

During the 2008 financial crisis, Schultz returned as chief executive. Succeeding Jim Donald, Schultz led a mass firing of executives and employees and shuttered hundreds of stores. He orchestrated multiple acquisitions of American and Chinese beverage companies, introduced a national loyalty program, and enforced fair trade standards. His aggressive expansion in Chinese markets has been credited[by whom?] with reconciling the country's tea-culture with coffee consumption in China. Schultz was succeeded by Kevin Johnson as CEO in April 2017 and Myron Ullman as chairman in June 2018.

Schultz has written four books on business. He is an outspoken neoliberal. Schultz publicly considered a candidacy in the 2012, 2016, and 2020 U.S. presidential elections as an independent candidate. He declined to join all three contests. His positions on domestic politics are socially liberal and fiscally moderate. In foreign policy, he is seen as a "liberal hawk", favoring American-led international affairs and neoliberalism. Schultz was named the 209th-richest person in the U.S. by Forbes with a net worth of $4.3 billion (October 2020) Schultz started the Schultz Family Foundation to help military veterans and fight youth unemployment.

On March 16, 2022 Starbucks announced that the current CEO Kevin Johnson is retiring and that Howard Schultz would take over as interim CEO. He will serve as interim CEO until Laxman Narasimhan takes over as CEO in April 2023.

After graduating Schultz stayed in Michigan and worked at a ski lodge for a year. He then took up a job in New York City as a salesman for Xerox, and was recruited by Swedish kitchenware manufacturer PAI Partners in 1979 to be general manager of its U.S. subsidiary, Hammarplast. At Hammarplast, Schultz was responsible for the coffee machine manufacturer's U.S. operations, and in 1981 he visited the Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle, Washington to fill their plastic cone filter orders.

Early Life

Howard D. Schultz was born on July 19, 1953, to Ashkenazi Jewish parents, Fred and Elaine Schultz, in Brooklyn, New York. Fred Schultz was a truck driver. Howard has two siblings. Schultz grew up in the Canarsie public housing projects. According to Schultz, his family was poor.

Schultz spent his time after school at the Boys Club of New York. He is also part of the Boys’ Club of New York's Alumni and has a “Lifetime Membership Card, which is a privilege we designate to those we consider special members of our BCNY community.” 

Schultz graduated from Canarsie High School in 1971.He attended Northern Michigan University (NMU) from 1971 to 1975, graduating with a B.A. in communications.

His grandfather was born in Manchester, New Hampshire    

In 1982, Schultz married Sheri Kersch, with whom he has two children. They live in Seattle's Madison Park neighborhood, having previously lived near Madrona. Schultz is a noted coffee aficionado, reportedly drinking four to five cups of coffee every da                                  


  • Northern Michigan University (BA -


  • : Starbucks - CEO


In 1998, Schultz received the 'Israel 50th Anniversary Tribute Award'. In 1999 AIDs Action awarded Schultz the National Leadership Award for philanthropic and educational efforts to battle AIDS. Schultz was named Fortune magazine's 2011 "Businessperson of the Year" for his initiatives in the economy and job market. Fortune went on to list him as the most generous CEO of 2015, for Starbucks' healthcare coverage, educational opportunities, and employee stock options.

Schultz spoke at the 2017 Arizona State University commencement ceremony and was presented with an honorary Doctor of humane letters degree. In November 2017, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund presented Schultz with the National Equal Justice Award