On the number two position of the top 100 business visionaries creating value for the world is Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO, Starbucks.
Over the course of several months, we scoured the business landscape for inventive leaders making bold moves to create value for four constituencies: shareholders, employees, consumers, and society.
For nearly three decades, Howard Schultz has been the force behind the most popular coffee chain on the planet — and a dynamic model of a progressive CEO who’s as animated by social issues and employee health as he is profit margins.
Schultz is deeply invested in the well-being and success of Starbucks’ 300,000 employees, whom he calls “partners.” Starbucks was one of the first US retailers to provide comprehensive health benefits for all part-time and full-time employees. Schultz also earned labor-friendly reviews in recent years for a program to pay workers’ full college tuition as well as for pledging to hire 10,000 military veterans or their spouses by 2018.
Schultz has suggested that Starbucks’ creed — “to use our scale for good” — should be a model for other global corporations. He has wielded his influence to decry open carry gun laws, declare the importance of social diversity and inclusivity, and start a national conversation about race (even though that one backfired). Recently, Starbucks launched FoodShare, a program to donate the stores’ leftover ready-to-eat meals to food banks across the US. The coffee chain plans to donate nearly 50 million meals by 2021.
A higher calling hasn’t hurt the bottom line, as Starbucks has never been more profitable. When he returned for a second stint as the company’s CEO in 2008 (he stepped back to serve as chairman during an eight-year hiatus) he refocused on quality and retrained his army of baristas, helping profits swell from $315 million to $945 million in two years. Last year, profits reached $2.8 billion on revenues of $19 billion, both record highs. Net worth: 3.2 billion USD (2015) Forbes