Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz to step down

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Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz to step down

Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz speaks during the company's annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, Washington March 18, 2015.

On Monday, just hours before Mr. Schultz planned to send a letter to the company's 350,000 employees around the world announcing his decision, he visited Starbucks's first store at Pike Place Market for the last time as its leader.

As of June 26, Starbucks says Schultz will take the title of chairman emeritus.

Starbucks Corp Executive Chairman Howard Schultz is stepping down, effective June 26, the world's biggest coffee chain said on Monday, fuelling speculation that the outspoken, liberal-leaning executive will make a US presidential bid.

Schultz joined Starbucks in 1982 and grew the chain from 11 stores to more than 28,000.

Mr Schultz, who retired as chief executive previous year, is to relinquish his seat on the board on 26 June.

Schultz, 64, also alluded that he might run for president in 2020. 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 want to be truthful with you without creating more speculative headlines", he said in discussing his political ambitions in an interview with The New York Times. He spoke to the growing division in the country and America's standing in the world.

Schultz's move comes after he ceded the day-to-day duties of CEO at Starbucks a year ago to focus on innovation and social impact projects as executive chairman.

Starbucks' board named Myron Ullman, previously chairman and CEO of struggling retailer J.C. Penney Co, as its new chair, and Mellody Hobson as vice chair effective upon Schultz's retirement.

More recently, as the company tried to restore its reputation after the arrests of two black men at a coffee shop in Philadelphia, Schultz said he didn't want people to feel "less than" if they were refused bathroom access.

In the meantime, he plans on working on his family foundation, and writing a book about the social responsibility companies have.

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