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The Power List 2015: No. 2 Howard Schultz

The Power List 2015: No. 2 Howard Schultz

NRN presents The Power List 2015, its second annual list of the most powerful people in foodservice. This year’s list focuses on leaders who hold the power to change the industry landscape as we know it.

If things go as planned for Starbucks Corp. chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz, his Seattle-based coffee company will grow to include 30,000 locations around the world producing $30 billion in revenue over the next five years.

Some observers say Starbucks is poised to become the world’s largest restaurant chain, with a market capitalization that will likely surpass
McDonald’s Corp.’s $90 billion by the end of 2025.
Others wonder if Schultz has even bigger plans, such as running for president of the United States.

Schultz has not announced any such plans, but he is certainly using his position to take on weighty issues.

At a recent investor day in Seattle, for example, Schultz spoke of the “significant void of leadership in America and around the world.”

Food sales are expected to expand in 2015 across all dayparts, and the company is planning to grow its Teavana Tea Bar brand, along with a new super-premium micro-roast brand-within-a-brand called Starbucks Reserve.

Businesses and business leaders, he said, need to take responsibility “to do all we can to bring our people along with us and share our significant success … and not wait for Washington, because the void of leadership is getting bigger and bigger.”

After a series of incidents involving race and police brutality in 2014 sparked protests across the country, Schultz in December called an impromptu Open Forum at the Starbucks’ headquarters.

Workers were invited to speak out about racism, and similar forums are planned for Oakland, Calif.; St. Louis; and New York City in 2015.

Earlier in 2014, Schultz published a book about the experiences of the country’s veterans called “For Love of Country,” along with Washington Post foreign correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran. Starbucks has also pledged to hire 10,000 veterans over the next five years.

In the past, Schultz has used the Starbucks stage to express support  for marriage equality and oppose the carrying of guns in his coffeehouse locations. Starbucks also launched a program to help employees go to college. Schultz contends that seeing the brand’s performance “through the lens of humanity” is good for business. That was certainly true in 2014.


Schultz on globalizing coffee >>

After yet another record fourth quarter, Starbucks ended fiscal 2014 with net income of $2.1 billion and consolidated same-store sales up 6 percent for the year, with 21,366 locations in 65 countries.

In 2015, Starbucks will roll out its Mobile Order & Pay platform, along with food and beverage delivery.
Early in 2014, Schultz reworked top management to free himself from day-to-day operations, a move that allowed him to think big about Starbucks and what it takes to build a great, enduring company.

It’s all about maintaining an “entrepreneurial DNA,” Schultz told the company’s investors recently.

“We have to have the constant curiosity to see around corners and see what others don’t see, and we have to have the courage and conviction to make big bets.”

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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