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Starbucks boss quits coffee chain after 36 years

Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz is leaving the US coffee giant after 36 years.

Schultz officially retired as chief executive in December, but will now step down from the Starbucks board, which he has led since 1985, on 26 June.

His resignation comes a week after Starbucks closed more than 8,000 of its US coffee shops so staff could receive racial bias training after two black men were wrongfully arrested in April for trespassing in a Philadelphia Starbucks branch. Schultz described the incident as “reprehensible at every single level”.

Since starting out as director of operations and marketing in 1982, Schultz has overseen the global growth of the coffee chain from 11 outlets to more than 28,000 stores worldwide and seen the company’s share price increase by 21,000%.

Unafraid to take a stand, as CEO in January 2017 he pledged to hire 10,000 refugees globally over the next five years in response to Donald Trump’s proposed immigration ban. However, he was also in charge in 2015 when Starbucks launched it’s much mocked #RaceTogether campaign, which encouraged baristas to write the slogan on customers’ cups in a bid to spark conversations about race.

Schultz’s resignation has raised questions about his potential political ambitions after he refused to rule out running for president in an interview with the New York Times.