Starbucks founder and longtime CEO Howard Schultz is returning to lead the company on an interim basis.
The coffee giant announced the leadership transition Wednesday ahead of its annual meeting and the news that CEO Kevin Johnson would retire next month after five years in the position and 13 years at the Seattle-based company.
Johnson, a former executive at Microsoft and Juniper Networks, succeeded Schultz as CEO in 2017.
Johnson will transition from his current role on April 4 and will continue to serve as a Starbucks employee and special consultant to the company and Board of Directors through September, the company said in a statement.
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Johnson, 61, said he told the company’s board last year that he was considering retirement. His most obvious successor had been Roz Brewer, the company’s chief operating officer, but she left the company in February to become the top executive at Walgreens.
Starbucks expects to name a permanent CEO by this fall. While Schultz leads the company, he will get $1 in compensation. Schultz, 68, is also rejoining Starbucks’ board.
Investors cheered the news; the Seattle company’s shares jumped 6% at the opening bell. The company’s shares are down almost 30% this year as Starbucks struggles with higher labor and commodity costs and weaker sales in China.
Contributing: Associated Press
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