With several politicians already jockeying for the 2020 Democratic party’s nomination for president, one dark horse candidate may have emerged, who can boast a personal connection to millions of voters.
The man who made Starbucks a household name may be on the verge of throwing his hat into the political ring, and Democratic coffee lovers may look to him as their savior in 2020.
Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz has been whispered as a potential candidate for several years – in fact, there was a movement to get him to run in 2015 against Hillary Clinton. He declined at the time, and most of those voters appeared to have joined on to the Bernie Sanders campaign. Schultz later endorsed Clinton and even campaigned for her.
Today, Schultz announced he is stepping down as executive chairman of the company, which could mean recent rumors about a presidential run may have been true.
Schultz has always been unabashedly liberal and politically active while serving as CEO and then executive chairman for Starbucks.
Schultz, who has been with Starbucks for nearly four decades, is credited with turning the company into a popular household name and growing it from 11 stores to more than 28,000 in 77 countries.
Last year, Schultz stepped down as chief executive officer to become executive chairman, handing the top job to Kevin Johnson.
Most recently, he was involved in steering the company through an anti-bias training program that was kickstarted after a Philadelphia cafe manager’s call to police resulted in the arrests of two black men who were waiting for a friend.
Starbucks’ board named Myron Ullman, who was previously chairman and CEO of struggling retailer J.C. Penney Co, as its new chair and Mellody Hobson vice chair effective upon Schultz’s retirement.
Schultz will also resign from Starbucks’ board and will be named chairman emeritus, the company said in a statement.
Schultz has a long history of speaking out against conservative principles. When Starbucks backed the legalization of gay marriage, he said shareholders who supported traditional marriage should go invest elsewhere. He has also been caught on video numerous times blasting Donald Trump and other Republicans.
Schultz was even responsible for bringing refugees into Starbucks as employees, giving them favored status over other unemployed Americans.
In this recent interview, conducted when Starbucks was in the midst of closing its stores for diversity training after several racially-charged incidents, Schultz downplayed the idea of a presidential run, but did not rule it out. His comments on running come at the 13:40 mark.
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