Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz's decision to step down is unlikely to disrupt growth at the world's biggest coffee chain. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Howard Schultz' departure from the CEO job won't stop Starbucks from growing, analysts say. Late Thursday, Starbucks said that Schultz is stepping down as CEO on April 3rd to focus on new, high-end coffee shops, and chief operating officer, Kevin Johnson, is taking over. Johnson has worked with Schultz for nearly two years, and has a background in technology, including stints at Microsoft and Juniper Networks. Schultz said he had personally asked him to take the CEO gig, saying he would be a good fit at a time when the company is trying to project itself as a pioneer in mobile payments technology. David Henkes of Technomic. (SOUNDBITE) DAVID HENKES, GLOBAL FOOD/BEVERAGE TREND WATCHER AND CONSULTANT, SENIOR PRINCIPAL, TECHNOMIC, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There were some initial concerns about Kevin Johnson, and his retail background, and how well he actually understood the business, given his tech background. But it seems that, given the way Starbucks is trending, and all the tech investment, and, quite frankly, there's a huge tech platform that Starbucks has that drives a lot of their sales right now. It seems that Kevin is certainly well positioned, and will be a good addition to the ranks of CEO, and should help the business immensely. " But the company's shares have traded down after the announcement. The last time Schultz stepped down as CEO - in 2000 - the company's shares had plunged. Schultz returned to the top job in 2008. Since then the company's annual sales have more than doubled, and its stock has risen six-fold.