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Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz quits just days before Senate hearing

Schultz is set to testify before Bernie Sanders’ Senate assistant committee next week.

Howard Schultz announced Tuesday that he is stepping down as Starbucks CEO two weeks before his scheduled departure date, resigning just before a hearing led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Which is about the company’s union busting next week.

Schultz began his third term as the company’s CEO last year when, employees said, the company brought him back to lead the fight against Starbucks Workers United’s wildly successful union campaign.

The past year has been marked by aggressive union busting by the company, which has been found by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to have broken the law more than 1,400 times throughout the campaign — including violations by Schultz himself. Schultz will be replaced by former PepsiCo executive Laxman Narasimhan.

Schultz’s resignation was met with steady acceptance by the union.

“More than 7,500 employees are actively organizing to return to Starbucks’ mission and values. Our movement stands for racial justice, inclusivity, and sustainability. We hope Lakshmana Narasimhan will chart a new path with the union and work with us to make Starbucks the company we know it can be,” said Starbucks Workers United organizer and Buffalo barista Michelle Essen.

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Schultz was summoned this week by a Senate committee led by Sanders.

“We look forward to Howard Schultz testifying before the Senate Help Committee on March 29 and being forced to answer for his actions,” Eisen continued.

The CEO’s early resignation comes just after he was subpoenaed to testify before the Senate. Originally, Schultz was scheduled to step down from his position on April 1. But it will be followed by a March 29 hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee chaired by Sanders – which was announced earlier this month.

The fact that the company appeared extremely reluctant to send Schultz to testify before the committee may be evidence that Schultz’s early resignation was strategically timed. In February, the company turned down Sanders’ request that Schultz testify before the Help Committee and instead offered to send another executive to testify.

Sanders rejected the counter-motion and instead scheduled a committee vote on whether to subpoena Schultz—and, just a day before the vote was to be held, Schultz agreed to testify.

now though Sanders’ communications director confirms While Schultz would still testify, he would no longer be doing so as CEO of Starbucks. Schultz will still remain a board member, but will likely claim more distance from day-to-day operations as ex-CEO, and headlines about his testimony will no longer reflect the company’s CEO being called before the Senate. Was.

Labor leaders say Schultz’s resignation does not change the fact that he should be held accountable for the company’s union busting. “Howard Schultz may no longer hold the position of CEO of @Starbucks, but that doesn’t change the fact that he must still be held accountable & accountable for his union busting tactics,” wrote Teamsters President Sean O’Brien. “Advice to his successor as well: You have the opportunity to change the narrative, don’t mess it up.”

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