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Howard Schultz Net Worth

Howard D. Schultz (born July 19, 1953) is an American businessman and author who served as the chairman and chief executive officer of Starbucks from 1986 to 2000, from 2008 to 2017, and as interim CEO from 2022 to 2023. Schultz also owned the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team from 2001 to 2006.

Schultz began working at Starbucks in 1982. He later left and opened Il Giornale, a specialty coffeeshop that merged with Starbucks during the late 1980s. Under Schultz, the company established a large network of stores which has influenced coffee culture in Seattle, the U.S., and internationally. Following large-scale distribution deals, Starbucks became the largest coffee-house chain in the world. Schultz took the company public in 1992 and used a $271 million valuation to double their store count in a series of highly publicized coffee wars. He stepped down as CEO in 2000, succeeded by Orin Smith.

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During the 2008 financial crisis, Schultz returned as chief executive. Succeeding Jim Donald, Schultz led a mass firing of executives and employees and shuttered hundreds of stores. He orchestrated multiple acquisitions of American and Chinese beverage companies, introduced a national loyalty program, and enforced fair trade standards. His aggressive expansion in Chinese markets has been credited with reconciling the country’s tea-culture with coffee consumption in China. Schultz was succeeded by Kevin Johnson as CEO in April 2017 and Myron Ullman as chairman in June 2018.

Schultz has written four books on business. He is an outspoken neoliberal. Schultz publicly considered a candidacy in the 20122016, and 2020 U.S. presidential elections as an independent candidate. He declined to join all three contests. His positions on domestic politics are socially liberal and fiscally moderate. In foreign policy, he is seen as a “liberal hawk“, favoring American-led international affairs and neoliberalism. Schultz was named the 209th-richest person in the U.S. by Forbes with a net worth of $4.3 billion (October 2020). Schultz started the Schultz Family Foundation to help military veterans and fight youth unemployment.

On March 16, 2022, Starbucks announced that CEO Kevin Johnson was retiring and that Howard Schultz would take over as interim CEO until Laxman Narasimhan took over as CEO in April 2023. On March 20, 2023, Schultz announced that he would be stepping down early from the position.

What is Howard Schultz’s Net Worth?

Howard Schultz is an American billionaire entrepreneur who has a net worth of $3.5 billion. Howard Schultz is best known for serving as the CEO of the coffee chain Starbucks. He first held that position from 1986 to 2000, and then again from 2008 to 2017 and again in an interim capacity in 2022. Beyond Starbucks, Schultz owned the Seattle SuperSonics NBA franchise and publicly considered running in multiple US presidential elections.

Howard Schultz grew up in an extremely poor family. He proved to be an excellent athlete and subsequently received an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University. He graduated in the early 70s with a degree in Communications and began working for Xerox. He left Xerox to become a manager for a Swedish coffee manufacturer. While working there, he was introduced to a group of Seattle-based coffee makers that had started a company called Starbucks Coffee Company. He became their Director of Marketing. He suggested that they take their coffee company in the same direction as the coffee shops of Italy, but they were not interested in creating a “café-like” culture. He started his own coffee shop, Il Giornale, and ultimately bought Starbucks from the original owners.

He eventually grew the company to the massive empire it is today. As of this writing, Starbucks has a market capitalization north of $100 billion. In September 2013, Howard angered some gun owners by asking people to not bring guns into Starbucks locations. He is also a supporter of raising minimum wages. In June 2014, Schultz announced that every Starbucks employee will be able to take free online college classes from Arizona State.

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Career Beginnings

Remaining in Michigan after graduating from college, Schultz took a job at a ski lodge for a year. Subsequently, he moved back to New York City and became a salesman for Xerox. Following that gig, Schultz was recruited by the Swedish kitchenware manufacturer Hammarplast to become the general manager of its American division. At the company, he was in charge of coffee machine manufacturing operations.

Starbucks Early Years

At the age of 29 in 1982, Schultz was hired by Starbucks as the director of marketing and retail operations. The next year, after coming back from a buying trip to Milan, Italy, he tried to persuade Starbucks owners Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker to begin selling traditional espresso beverages in addition to the whole bean coffee and tea leaves the company was already offering. However, a number of economic and logistical factors prevented them from following through with the idea. Consequently, Schultz left Starbucks in 1985 to open his own store, which soon received $150,000 in investment money from Starbucks and $100,000 from local doctor Ron Margolis. By 1986, he had enough funding to open his first store, called Il Giornale. A couple of years later, the Starbucks management team – which had decided to focus on another venture called Peet’s Coffee & Tea – sold its Starbucks retail unit to Schultz, who then rebranded Il Giornale with the Starbucks name.

After taking control of Starbucks, Schultz worked on expanding the company’s reach throughout the United States. In the summer of 1992, Starbucks went public, raising $271 million. Schultz remained in the position of CEO until 2000, when he stepped down to become the company’s chief global strategist.

Starbucks Expansion

In the new millennium, Schultz worked to significantly expand the global market reach of Starbucks, with the company opening numerous stores in China. After serving as the chief global strategist for eight years, he returned in early 2008 to the position of CEO. During this time, Starbucks was being heavily criticized for its employee labor conditions and tipping policies. Schultz went on to oversee a mass-firing of executives and the shuttering of hundreds of Starbucks stores. He then enforced fair trade and ethical source policies, resulting in a doubling of the company’s annual purchase of fair trade coffee. Later, in 2014, Schultz established the Starbucks College Achievement Plan in collaboration with Arizona State University. By the end of 2021, Starbucks had amassed over 33,000 stores in 80 countries around the world.

Final Years as Starbucks CEO

In December of 2016, Schultz again left his CEO post at Starbucks, and became executive chairman. A year-and-a-half later, he announced his retirement from active management of the company. However, Schultz returned as an interim CEO in March of 2022 after Kevin Johnson left the position.

Basketball Team Ownership

Beyond his work at Starbucks, Schultz has been involved in the executive world of professional basketball. In early 2001, he led a group of investors in the purchase of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. During his ownership of the former team, Schultz was widely criticized for running the franchise more like a business than a team. In early 2006, he gave the Washington State Legislature an ultimatum that he would sell the SuperSonics if the state failed to approve the renovation of KeyArena or the development of a new arena for the team. Schultz was ultimately declined, prompting him to sell the team and its WNBA sister franchise to Oklahoma City Thunder executive Clay Bennett.


Schultz has penned a number of books on business. His first, “Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time,” was co-written by Dori Jones Yang and published in 1997. His next book was 2011’s “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for its Life Without Losing its Soul,” co-written by Joanne Gordon. Next, with Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Schultz co-wrote “For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice,” which was published in 2014. His fourth book, a candidate memoir entitled “From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America,” came out in 2019.

Political Views

A neoliberal technocrat, Schultz supports free trade, tax reform, gun control, and a balanced budget. He is notably anti-union, having cracked down on unionization at Starbucks since the 80s. Schultz is known to be a deficit hawk in terms of the economy, and a liberal hawk in terms of foreign affairs. He has publicly considered running for US president as a Democrat or independent in 2012, 2016, and 2020.

Other Ventures

Among his other ventures, Schultz and investment banker Dan Levitan founded the venture capital firm Maveron in 1998. The group mostly invests in startups and consumer-focused companies. By the summer of 2014, Maveron was worth $1.3 billion in assets under management.

Personal Life

In 1982, Schultz wed Sheri Kersch. The couple has two children, and resides in the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle. With his wife, Schultz co-founded the Schultz Family Foundation and Onward Veterans.

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