Starbucks announced Wednesday that founder Howard Schultz is stepping down from its board of directors – but the former chairman’s name will be sticking around.
Though Schultz is retiring, Starbucks is giving him the title of “lifelong Chairman Emeritus.”
Schultz is stepping down as part of a planned transition, Starbucks said in a statement. He previously stepped down as CEO in March, as employees at stores across the nation moved to unionize. That was Schultz’s third time serving the CEO role.
“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 said in the statement.
Starbucks said Schultz is using retirement to focus on his wife, Sheri, and on a “range of philanthropic and entrepreneurial investments.”
The coffee giant elected Wei Zhang, senior advisor to Alibaba Group and who served as president of Alibaba Pictures Group, to its board beginning October 1.
Starbucks’ new CEO, Laxman Narasimhan, took over the reins from Schultz in March 2023. Schultz had stepped into the interim CEO role in April 2022.