One of America's most widely recognized CEOs, Schultz long ago emerged as an outspoken leader on civic issues such as immigration, LGBTQ issues and gun control. This move has reignited speculation that a plan to run for political office could be in his future.
In an interview with the New York Times, Schultz reportedly acknowledged that he may consider public service. Asked specifically if he was planning to run for president, Schultz said "I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I'm a long way from making any decisions about the future."
Schultz has for years expressed an interest in becoming more involved in public life, even as he has equivocated on questions about whether he will mount a campaign for president. His friend David Geffen, the Hollywood mogul and a major Democratic donor, has said he encouraged Schultz to run as far back as the 2008 campaign cycle.
At an Atlantic Council event last month in Washington, Schultz laid out a set or themes that would fit easily into a 2020 presidential campaign, including a warning against isolationism and nationalism.
"This is not a time to build walls. This is a time to build bridges," he said. "We have an awesome responsibility not to be desensitized by the time we are living in, not to accept the status quo of a lack of dignity and a lack of respect, but to rise above it and to do all we can."
Schultz had transitioned from running the company on a day-to-day basis in April 2017, the second time he'd given up the chief executive's title, most recently to current CEO Kevin Johnson. After becoming executive chairman, he focused on the company's premium brands - its chain of Starbucks Reserve Roasteries, Reserve stores and its partnership with an Italian bakery, Princi. The company's announcement said that after Schultz leaves the board, he will oversee the opening of two Roastery stores - one in Milan in September and another in New York in October. He will receive the title of chairman emeritus.
The company said that former J.C. Penney chairman and CEO Myron "Mike" Ullman would be appointed its new board chair and Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson would serve as vice chair. Both are current members of the Starbucks board.
In the weeks leading to the training, Schultz repeatedly cast the arrests as a company-wide failure that reflected on the company's top leadership - rather than placing blame on the manager who called 911. He described going through the training himself and being gripped by the experiences of a colleague who grew up in South Africa during apartheid. And he appeared throughout the racial bias curriculum, calling on employees to do their part to uphold a welcoming community for all in their stores and communities.
"That's my hope for the company, and that's literally my hope for the country," he said in the training.
Schultz also made clear that Starbucks's racial bias training wasn't just about his company alone.
"It's not about Starbucks, it's about the country," Schultz said. "What kind of country do we want to live in? For me the answer is very simple. The promise of America will not be achieved if it is only available to those that have the right color of skin or have the right zip code. We must provide opportunity and aspiration to every single person who is American, and we must see that through the lens of humanity. And this exercise is the beginning of that for Starbucks."
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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