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Starbucks CEO Draws His Own Path
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Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is identifying his own vision for the company—apart from Howard Schultz’s plan. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Johnson said that the previous plan to open about 1,000 Reserve cafes will be piloted with just a few stores. Reserve stores deliver a higher-end experience, selling artisanal products and cocktails.

 

The change is one example of how Johnson is distinguishing himself from Schultz, who was the company CEO for about 30 years. According to the article, Johnson often started meetings with, “I’m not Howard. I’m Kevin.” A couple of weeks after Schultz left, Johnson said about the business strategy, “Certainly, I tend to bring a much more disciplined approach to picking the priorities.”

 

Starbucks Reserve image source.

Kevin Johnson image source.

 

 

 

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Discussion:

  • Is it important for Johnson to distinguish himself from Schultz? Why or why not?
  • Read more about Johnson as the new CEO. How well is he handling the transition? What, if anything, should he do differently? He’s in a tough spot, wanting to create his own path but needs to be respectful to the previous leadership.

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