Former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz is recognised as one of the most influential, successful, and visionary business leaders in the world today. Howard took Starbucks from a mere 11 retail stores to in excess of 1,300 stores. He is renowned for his successful leadership, business ethics and sense of public responsibility. He was Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year for 2011.
Howard Schultz is a highly professional and passionate keynote speaker, whose presentations leave delegates inspired and motivated. He draws upon his knowledge and expertise to offer audiences advice on achieving their ambitions and sustainable success.
In 1981 Howard was the vice president in charge of U.S. operations for Hammarplast, a Swedish company that makes housewares and kitchen equipment. It was whilst at Hammarplast’s that Howard noted ”a strange phenomenon: a little retailer in Seattle was placing unusually large orders for a certain type of drip coffeemaker”. The name of the business was Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice. Howard’s curiosity led him to Seattle where he met Starbucks’ two owners, who acquainted him with the history of their five stores. By 1982, he’d joined Starbucks and was helping it expand its reach to other cities. The rest, as they say, is history. With over 17,000 stores in 56 countries, and with more than 200,000 employees serving over 50 million customers every week, Howard Schultz has revolutionised the whole coffee industry, and made Starbucks a dominant player among global food empires, as well as a lifestyle emblem. Today, no company sells more coffee drinks, to more people, in more places, than Starbucks.
The company’s vision and guiding principles have been a major part of its success. Howard says, “There needs to be a balance between commerce and social responsibility.” Few American employers offer what Starbucks under Schultz has long given to its 107,000 employees in the United States, In addition to equity grants of “Bean stock,” all full-timers and part-timers who putting in at least 20 hours a week, get health care benefits. Schultz believes beneficence is good business, breeding loyalty and productivity.