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Starbucks CEO To Step Down, Shift Focus To Higher-End Shops

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Howard Schultz Starbucks

There are some retail industry CEOs whose names are instinctively linked to the companies they oversee, and like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is one of them.

The chain announced Thursday that Schultz will be stepping down as chief executive of the Starbucks empire to focus his efforts on a new initiative the company is pursuing centered around higher-end coffee shops. Schultz joined Starbucks in 1982, and will remain aboard as chairman of the 45-year-old company, passing the reins to current COO Kevin Johnson, who joined the executive team two years ago, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The company is hoping to differentiate itself from competitors by refreshing its brand, introducing more high-end drinks like cold-brewed coffee to consumers—it will open 20 to 30 more high-end stores next year. “This gives me the entrepreneurial freedom to do what I do best,” Schultz said. [WSJ]