Howard Schultz to continue leading Starbucks until 2023 amid growing unionization efforts by workers

US – Starbucks, an American multinational chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves, has announced Howard Schultz, who returned to Starbucks Corp. as interim chief executive officer on April 4, will remain in that role through the first quarter of fiscal 2023.

Additionally, Schultz, who led the Seattle-based company’s expansion from a boutique roastery into a coffee giant, will remain on the board of directors after the new CEO takes over.

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Schultz rejoined the company when Kevin Johnson retired after four years in the role and 13 years at the company.

 This is Schultz’s third run as CEO after he had taken over for the second time before Johnson’s appointment from 2008 to 2017.

The company stated that it is on track to name the next permanent CEO in the coming months but this time around, it is seeking candidates outside of the company.

Starbucks added that the timeline provides the company the ideal runway for a seamless transition and continuity of leadership through the 2022 holiday season, as the business transformation continues.

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Schultz’s third return comes amidst growing unionization efforts, with more than 180 locations having unionized or have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board, most of which have done so in the past six months of 2022.

Schultz in May, during a call with investors, said a union contract will not even come close to what Starbucks offers, putting out his long-time opposition to unionization efforts for Starbucks.

Starbucks has claimed that members of Workers United, which represents Starbucks unions, have harassed and intimidated nonunion workers.

Just in May, Starbucks also announced an additional US$200 million in spending on stores and employees, including higher hourly pay for nonunionized employees.

Meanwhile, Starbucks is closing a store in Ithaca, N.Y., because of safety concerns relating to an overflowing grease trap in the store. Workers however believe that the closure is linked to their decision to unionize.

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As pressure ensues on Starbucks in the US, an outlet in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou was handed a 10,000 yuan (US$1495) fine for selling expired coffee.

An inspection by the local market regulator in December last year found the shop had four boxes of expired coffee powder on its shelves selling for 69 yuan (US$10) each.

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