Outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he won’t be returning for a fourth stint


Outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says he will never return to the top job after the coffee giant announced a new succession plan last week.

“I’m never coming back because we found the right person,” he said on TBEN’s “Squawk Box” Wednesday.

Laxman Narasimhan, currently CEO of Lysol owner Reckitt, will join the coffee company in October and take control in April. Schultz will remain on Starbucks’ board after Narasimhan succeeds him and acts as an advisor.

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Schultz, 69, returned to Starbucks in April for his third stint as CEO after Kevin Johnson retired. Despite speculation from Wall Street and industry insiders, Schultz stuck to his promise that his current stint would be only temporary.

When Johnson announced his retirement, Schultz said he had no previously plans to return to Starbucks. He served as CEO from 1986 to 2000, growing the Seattle coffee chain into an industrial giant, and again from 2008 to 2017. He also publicly weighed in on a possible presidential election in the run-up to the 2020 election.

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While Narasimhan hasn’t officially joined Starbucks yet, Schultz told TBEN’s Andrew Ross Sorkin that he’s gotten to know his successor “very well” over the past few months. Before making a turnaround at Reckitt, Narasimhan held various positions at PepsiCo and consulting firm McKinsey.

Narasimhan’s appointment received a muted response from Wall Street. Schultz’s earlier announcement of a departure in late 2016 resulted in a double-digit drop in its share price.

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Starbucks is holding an investor day in Seattle on Tuesday, when the company is expected to reveal more details about Schultz’s reinvention plan.

Correction: Laxman Narasimhan is the new CEO of Starbucks. An earlier version misspelled his last name.