Starbucks ex-CEO Howard Schultz
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The Rise of Starbucks Ex-CEO Howard Schultz

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The Rags to Riches Story begins

Howard Schultz, the former CEO of the world’s popular coffee chain has lived the ‘American dream’ in every respect.  Starbucks achieved the top-notch position globally after the rise of Starbucks ex-CEO Howard Schultz as chairman emeritus to the ubiquitous coffee chain.

Although Schultz had an impoverished childhood that toughened his efforts to face the odds, finally, he made remarkable achievements by playing an indispensable role in propelling Starbucks to success.

Starbucks ex-CEO Howard Schultz had a miserable childhood

Howard Schultz was born into a Jewish family, and his father did odd jobs to support the family. Schultz recalls in his book that his father was an honest and beaten man who worked hard to feed the family (Schultz, Prologue). Young Schultz had a miserable childhood, and he found solace in sports.  As a natural athlete, Schultz excelled in football and basketball. His sports instincts won him an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University. Schultz started scripting history with his college diploma because he was the first one in his family to attain one.

The coffee making concept comes to mind

A diploma did not make things rosy either. For three years, Schultz toiled in sales and marketing at Xerox. Success smiled on him, and he went on to become the Vice President and General Manager of Hammarplast USA. Schultz became fascinated by the concept of coffee making and joined Starbucks in 1982 as the operational and marketing head.

The rise of Starbucks ex-CEO Howard Schultz begins in 1983 as he embarked on an Italian tour, and it changed his perceptions of coffee making and serving. The streets of Milan were then decked with espresso bars where people came in for a cuppa and chat. Schultz experienced an “epiphany” moment when he realized that he needed to make customers fall heads over heels in love with coffee concoctions. Schultz recognized the formula of success and decided to test it back home.

Bids goodbye but returns as CEO

Schultz communicated his idea with the founders of Starbucks, but they rejected him outright. Schultz bid goodbye to Starbucks and created his coffee joint, II Giornale coffeehouses. He dedicated his time and passion to the coffeehouse, trying to replicate the coffee culture he had witnessed in the streets of Milan.

In 1987, Schultz returned as the CEO of Starbucks, and when he took over, there were barely 17 stores in different locations. Schultz assumed the responsibility of the joint and steered it carefully through the storms and tides. There were both offbeat and conventional moments, but Schultz stayed focused on his dream.

Leadership style of Starbucks ex-CEO Howard Schultz

Schultz demonstrated a different style of leadership in his executive tenure. He referred the Starbucks employees as “partners” and prioritized customers over profit. At one point, he even closed the US stores to retrain the baristas to concoct the perfect espresso. The company boasts of a various employee sustaining programs such as paying the fees of its employees accepted to Arizona State’s online program (Jaschik para 1). Schultz had also envisioned other perks for employees who aided him to scale the heights.  Starbucks offers multiple health coverage, a competitive 401 (k) retirement plan, paid vacations, parental leave and commuter benefits (Starbucks).

Starbucks thrives under Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz enabled Starbucks to become a phenomenal success by directly serving coffee. He transformed the humble Seattle coffeehouse to become the quintessential synonym of perfect coffee concoction. Also, Schultz’s story is a motivation for anyone aiming to start small but grow big. Evidently, Schultz had a challenging role to play in the fierce race of making coffees. His exemplary forecasts and vision helped Starbucks to become the undisputed leader of serving coffees worldwide.

As per the report of The Atlantic (JAN 26, 2019), Schultz is planning to run for president in 2020 as an independent candidate.

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2 Comments

  1. Such success stories are possible in a community where every job and every person is a dignified one. Since America being a land of opportunities for the hardworking one, persons like Schultz may come up at anytime. In India too , we have a success story with coffee. The Indian Coffee Houses that spread all over India had humble origin. It took birth under the Steward ship of Shri. A.K.Gopalan, a philanthropic communist. He created cooperative movement and established the popular Indian Coffee Houses.

    1. Your observation is correct. If equality in the workplace becomes a culture, such changes can take place. Also, people, especially the youth should believe that every job has its own dignity and significance. However, this is hard to come true in a class, caste divided society. Education can change the scenario to a great extent.

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