New CEOs at Starbucks

There's been a dramatic shakeup in leadership at Starbucks that seems to have gone largely unnoticed. Perhaps it's the endless news cycles of politics or the holidays, but this one has gone under the radar of most.

There's a new CEO at Starbucks.

What say what? What happened to the living legend Howard Schultz? How could he be gone from Starbucks, the brand and company he personally built from 4 stores in Seattle (I remember them) to 24,000 all around the world (I've been to a bunch of them)?!?

Well he's not gone entirely, and in fact he's not gone at all. He's just changing his focus towards more innovation for the company. He'll be looking to build a premium offering from Starbucks, to take the company to another level...speculatively under the Starbucks Reserve brand name. To allow him to accomplish said focus area, a new CEO will concentrate on their main business. His name is Kevin Johnson and he starts his new position in April 2017.

Hmm, Starbucks Reserve. Even more special coffee? A deeper coffee experience? Perhaps casual dining?

The world is his oyster.

Despite the Starbucks legacy that Howard Schultz has created (or maybe because of it), this makes sense. It often takes a different kind of leader to build a business from small to mega-huge than it does to maintain a mega-huge business. Perhaps Schultz's strengths lie in vision, innovation, and creation as opposed to continual maintenance and improvement. Johnson is currently the COO of Starbucks, so evidently his strengths lie more operationally, likely what the main brand needs at this stage.

It takes a lot of fortitude to make these kinds of changes, and I'm a big fan of all of the above. But mostly I'm just plain excited to see what comes next from this man, this company, and this brand.

Perhaps he will go into politics instead, as some have suggested. He wouldn't be the first business person to do so.

What's your experience? JIM