At Starbucks’ annual shareholders meeting, the company announced its plans to hire 240,000 more people and to open 12,000 new stores, by 2021. The numbers above include 68,000 new jobs U.S.
Today, the company is focusing on the Chinese market and is planning to expand its operations in Italy, where it recently entered.
The event was the final shareholder meeting where Howard Schultz attended as CEO. On the 3rd of April, he will be replaced by Kevin Johnson.
According to Johnson, there is a certain concern regarding President Trump’s “America First” platform and anti-free trade sentiments.
“Certainly, as an American brand, sometimes politics in the United States can carry over,” Johnson said. “But we’re going to stay focused on the things we can control and the things that we do well.”
Although Schultz supported Hillary Clinton during last year’s campaign, he does support some of Trump’s ideas.
He said Trump’s talk about “lowering taxes and creating jobs and bringing manufacturing back” would be “very positive for the country and very positive to Starbucks.”
Moreover, the current CEO is confident that Starbucks will carry on and be a successful company, regardless of any changes taking place at Washington.
“I think that Starbucks has demonstrated over 40 plus years our unique ability to navigate successfully through lots of cyclical changes in the economy and political administrations,” he said. “I’m very confident that we will be able to do that.”
Once Schultz’ term as a CEO reaches an end, he will continue as executive chairman of Starbucks. Additionally, he plans to put time and effort in social causes regarding youth development, veterans’ issues and homelessness.
“I’m committed to doing everything I can as a private citizen to try and elevate the national conversation about these issues,” Schultz said. “I’m very, very concerned about the fragile nature of the world and the uncertainty in America and want to do everything I can to really improve the situation for those people who do not have a voice.”
The company made several promises regarding social causes. It said it will hire veterans or their spouses, as well as young people who are not in school or unemployed. Moreover, it still stands behind its commitment to hire 10,000 refugees around the globe.
Kevin Johnson said he is ready to replace Howard Schultz and become the new CEO.
“Certainly, I think transitions from founders are particularly unique and sometimes challenging transitions to execute,” he said. “Howard [Schultz] and I both have spent so much time on this in trying to do this the right way, do this in a thoughtful way, a planned way.”
“I have venti shoes to fill,” Johnson said.