Howard Schultz-The Visionary Billionaire Behind Starbuck

Piyush Mishra Piyush Mishra
Apr 17, 2021 6 min read
Howard Schultz-The Visionary Billionaire Behind Starbuck

The startup industry has witnessed unbelievable transformations. The stories of Nike’s rise in the sporting goods segment and KFC’s dominance as a fast food behemoth have shown that nothing is predictable in this era of cut-throat competition. When we talk about the beverage industry, one name is synonymous with global influence. It’s none other than Starbucks. The evolution from a shop that sold coffee beans into a multi-billion company is inspirational. But as they say, achieving success is nigh impossible without struggle, pain, and hard work. Starbucks is where it is today because of Howard Schultz’s strategies and leadership.

Howard Schultz’s iconic image is due to Starbucks’ meteoric rise under his guidance and his tenure as a member of the board of directors of Square. Discover more about Howard Schultz and how he set up Starbucks.

Howard Schultz - Biography

Name Howard Schultz
Born 19 July 1953, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Age 67 Years
Education Northern Michigan University, Canarsie High School
Net Worth US$4.3 billion (October 2020)
Children Eliahu Jordan Schultz, Addison Schultz
Spouse Sheri Kersch Schultz

Howard Schultz - Curating The Business Mindset
Howard Schultz - How It All Started?
Howard Schultz - Starbucks Revamped
Howard Schultz - Expansion Of The Coffee Chain - Starbucks
Howard Schultz - Salary And Presidential Aspirations
Howard Schultz - Tenure With Seattle SuperSonics
Howard Schultz - The Author
Howard Schultz - An Inspiration
Howard Schultz - FAQ's
Howard Schultz - Conclusion

Howard Schultz - Curating The Business Mindset

Schultz worked as a salesman for Xerox Corporation in the beginning. The turning point came in 1979 when he was appointed as the general manager for Hammarplast, a Swedish drip coffee maker. When he visited a client of Hammarplast in 1981, he observed a coffee bean shop named Starbucks order plastic cone filters.

The company’s knowledge about coffee impressed him and he joined Starbucks. Howard Schultz joined as the director of marketing. His trip to Italy changed Starbucks’ operational approach. He noticed that coffee shops existed on every street of Italy which served a wide variety of coffee. These places acted as meeting points for people. Schultz proposed a new marketing strategy which wasn’t welcomed. Schultz left the company as a result.

Howard Schultz - How It All Started?

After quitting Starbucks, Schultz needed around 400,000 USD which was difficult at that time. Jerry Baldwin and the co-founder of the company, Gordon Bowker offered to help him set up the first store. In 1986, Schultz opened ‘II Giornale’, which was named after the Milanese newspaper. The store had a vivid menu, ranging from coffee to ice cream. Schultz was determined to implement the inspiration received from his Italy trip. The store had seating facilities and opera music.

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Howard Schultz - Starbucks Revamped

After two years, Starbucks’ management committee sold its entire retail unit to Schultz. The net worth of the unit was around 3.8 million USD. Later on, Schultz renamed II Giornale to Starbucks. There was no return for Starbucks after this. Under Schultz, the company witnessed rapid growth and expanded throughout the United States. Schultz’s knowledge on real estate proved vital in Starbucks becoming a household name in the country. Schultz stepped down as the CEO of the company in 2000 and became the Chief Global Strategist to help expand the company globally. A new era for Starbucks began.

Howard Schultz - Expansion Of The Coffee Chain - Starbucks

Although the company was successful in the food and beverage circuit, it was largely due to domestic profits. International sales weren’t satisfactory, and Schultz returned as the CEO of Starbucks after a hiatus of  8 years. He fired several executives and ordered a shutdown of non-performing stores across the globe. Howard also hired a Chief Technology Officer, and he introduced the Starbucks Reward Card.


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Howard Schultz - Salary And Presidential Aspirations

Schultz was earning around 9 million USD while radicalizing Starbucks. In 2016, he stepped down as the CEO of Starbucks and acquired the post of executive chairman. After two years, he announced he was quitting Starbucks to have a shot at the presidential campaign.

Howard Schultz - Tenure With Seattle SuperSonics

In 2001, Schultz and nine other investors purchased the National Basketball Association’s Seattle SuperSonics and the women’s team, Seattle Storm, for 200 million USD. But his tenure with the team wasn’t fruitful as the fans thought his idea to run the team as a business rather than a sports team was crass. Schultz was on bitter terms with the team captain as he criticized the captain for his absence in the team’s first practice session.

Later on, he sold the team to Clay Bennet, the chairman of the Professional Basketball Club for 350 million USD. This move was taken in accordance with his inability to collect public funds for building a stadium. A series of lawsuits followed and Schultz is still disliked in some parts of Seattle.

Howard Schultz - The Author

Apart from being a successful entrepreneur, Schultz has penned multiple books. ‘Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time’ was released in 1997. He co-authored ‘How Starbucks fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul’ with Joanne Gordon. His third book, ‘For Love of Country’, was co-written with Rajiv Chandrasekaran and published in the year 2014.

Howard Schultz - An Inspiration

Howard Schultz has seen crests and troughs; an unpleasant tenure with Seattle Supersonics and a successful stint with Starbucks. He didn’t back off when it came to making the harshest of decisions. His marketing strategies transformed Starbucks from a coffee bean store to an 80 billion USD organization. It is a no brainer that Schultz is an inspiration for budding entrepreneurs.

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Howard Schultz - FAQ's

How many times did Starbucks fail?

While we're talking about coffee, here's something to keep in mind whenever you're facing a professional or personal challenge: Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, was rejected 242 times when he tried to secure capital. Think about that.

Why is Starbucks so expensive?

Starbucks stores are always in prime locations with the most exposure to people. Starbucks is very picky about where they place their locations. Although this is a reason your Starbucks is so expensive, it is another part of the convenience. People want a Starbucks that is on their way to work or school.

Where is Howard Schultz from?

Howard Schultz is from Brooklyn, New York, United States.

How much money does Howard Schultz make a year?

Schultz stepped down from the job in April 2017 to become executive chairman, before retiring in 2018. In Starbucks' 2016 fiscal year, the last full year Schultz was CEO, his total compensation was more than $21.8 million.

Is Howard Schultz a transactional leader?

He was hired by the company in 1982. In 1984, Schultz opened the first Starbucks coffeehouse based on the concept of an Italian espresso bar. As a transactional leader, he was responsible for the vision and implementation of the Starbucks model.

What are Howard Schultz's skills?

Schultz wasn't like other leaders; his leadership qualities and styles were different and most underrated. But even with those qualities, he became the reason for the success of Starbucks.

Howard Schultz - Conclusion

Howard Schultz is a transformational leader who has different leadership qualities as compares to other leaders. He began the U.S.'s second coffee revolution. He had an employee-focused leadership style that left a template for other business owners to follow as they grow their own enterprises. Schultz grew a worldwide brand by having the most underrated leadership style. He failed numerous times and was rejected by most of the investors before starting his business. But he never gave up and continued working hard to build a brand like Starbuck.

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