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Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz steps down

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp, the world’s biggest coffee chain, said on Monday Executive Chairman Howard Schultz is stepping down, effective June 26.

FILE PHOTO: Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz speaks during the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, Washington March 18, 2015. REUTERS/David Ryder/File photo

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.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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