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Starbucks Announces Board of Directors Transitions; Howard Schultz, Wei Zhang, and More Comment

Starbucks Announces Board of Directors Transitions; Howard Schultz, Wei Zhang, and More Comment

Monday, September 18th, 2023

The next step in a planned leadership transition has taken place at Starbucks Coffee Company as Howard Schultz, the company’s modern-day Founder and Chairman Emeritus, stepped down. He also departed his role as Chief Executive Officer in March of this year, handing over the reins to Laxman Narasimhan. Starbucks also announced the election of Wei Zhang to its Board of Directors, effective October 1.

Howard Schultz, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Starbucks Coffee Company“As I reflect on my 41 years with the company, a foundation of love and creative, passionate customer experience has been built by over 5 million partners (employees) around the world who have worked in the company,” said Schultz. “My gratitude to them and the millions of stakeholders and customers that have helped Starbucks endure is beyond measure. I am enormously blessed to have experienced this journey from the ground floor at the company these many years. I look forward to supporting this next generation of leaders to steward Starbucks into the future as a customer, supporter, and advocate in my role as Chairman Emeritus.”

Schultz has transformed Starbucks from a small company selling only whole beans to a global company with 36,000 stores in 86 markets around the world. Starbucks went public on June 26, 1992, and since then, the stock price has increased on a split-adjusted basis to $96.24 as of September 12, 2023, representing an increase of approximately 36,000 percent.

As Howard Schultz steps down, Starbucks has announced the election of Wei Zhang to its Board of Directors

As Schultz departs, Zhang will join the company’s Board of Directors.

Wei Zhang, Board Member, Starbucks Coffee Company“The limitless growth mindset that guides Starbucks partners and business is impressive and has resonance,” said Zhang. “I’ve been a Starbucks customer across the globe for decades. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the board and talented leadership team to contribute to the power, relevance, and resilience of the Starbucks business and brand—creating significant value for all stakeholders.”

Zhang most recently served as Senior Advisor to Alibaba Group, a release stated. The leader also formerly led Alibaba Pictures Group as President. Zhang joins Starbucks’ board as its ninth director, following the election of Beth Ford, CEO of Land O’Lakes, earlier this year.

She currently serves on the board of Ralph Lauren Corporation. She is also a past board member of the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission, Amblin Partners, and the Jack Ma Foundation, among others.

Laxman Narasimhan, Chief Executive Officer, Starbucks Coffee Company“I want to extend a warm welcome to Wei, who brings essential experience in global operations, consumer technology, entertainment, and corporate business development to the Starbucks board,” said Narasimhan. “I also offer my respect to Howard as he steps down from the board. As we go forward, Starbucks will continue our journey of investment in our people, our business, and the communities we serve to deliver outsized returns to all our stakeholders.”

To read more about this transition, click here.

Best wishes to Wei Zhang and Howard Schultz as they take these new roads!

Starbucks Coffee Company