Next Starbucks CEO Brings Tech Savvy
After turning Starbucks into the world’s largest coffee chain, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz will hand the reins to a lieutenant who could solidify its role as a technology company, according to Bloomberg. Kevin Johnson, a 33-year veteran of the tech industry who became Starbucks’ chief operating officer last year, will take the helm from Schultz on April 3.
The move is a nod to the company’s growing reputation for innovation: It introduced the world’s first successful mobile-payment service, beating out the likes of Apple and Google, and gets an increasingly large portion of its revenue from that source. Schultz will keep the role of executive chairman at Starbucks, focusing on the rollout of its upscale Reserve brand. “I’m not leaving the company,” Schultz, 63, said on a conference call after the change was announced Thursday. “But Kevin and the team are in charge.”
Johnson, who joined the board in 2009, was tapped for the operating chief job after Troy Alstead went on sabbatical. Johnson, 56, previously worked at Microsoft and Juniper Networks. In 2008, he was named to the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, where he served under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.