Howard Schultz: What to know about the former Starbucks CEO who considered running

Schultz announced he is no longer pursuing a possible 2020 presidential bid.

September 6, 2019, 2:23 PM

Howard Schultz, the billionaire former Starbucks CEO, said in January in a "60 Minutes" interview that he is seriously considering running for president in 2020 as a centrist independent.

"I wanna see the American people win. I wanna see America win. I don't care if you're a Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Republican. Bring me your ideas, And I will be an independent person, who will embrace those ideas. Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party," he told the CBS News program "60 Minutes."

The self-proclaimed lifelong Democrat’s announcement was met with concern from some in his party who believe this could pull support away from the nominee and provide an easy path to victory for President Donald Trump.

Out of the running: On Sept. 6, Schultz announced in a letter to his supporters that he is forgoing his independent presidential run, saying, "I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time."

Name: Howard D. Schultz

Age: 65 (born July 19, 1953)

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

What he used to do: Schultz took control of Starbucks in the 1980s and has been credited with transforming the regional coffee company into a global brand with international name recognition. In 2017, the coffee mogul stepped down as chairman and CEO of Starbucks.

He grew up in public housing in Canarsie, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, and became the first person in his family to graduate from college. He received his undergraduate degree from Northern Michigan University.

Schultz, even during his tenure as CEO of Starbucks, was never shy about his political views. He most recently publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.

The coffee magnate even dabbled in the sports industry as he was the former owner of both the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm. Schultz was instrumental in the sale of the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City, now known as the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Social Causes: Schultz and Starbucks made national news in 2012 after announcing their support of a Washington state-wide measure to legalize same-sex marriage.

In 2018, Starbucks closed more than 8,000 company-owned stores to the public so that employees could participate in a mandatory racial bias training.

In an open letter to Starbucks customers, Schultz called the training the beginning of a "new chapter in our history."

PHOTO: A sign hangs in the window of a Starbucks store on May 29, 2018 in Chicago.
A sign hangs in the window of a Starbucks store on May 29, 2018 in Chicago.
Getty Images, FILE

2020 Implications: Democrats are starting to worry about the emergence of third-party candidates. Former President Barack Obama strategists, David Axelrod and Dan Pfeiffer, as well as potential Democratic 2020 presidential contender Julian Castro are among a growing list of Democrats urging Schultz not to run, according to the Associated Press.

“It would provide Donald Trump with his best hope of getting re-elected,” Castro said Sunday on CNN.

Schultz announcement came as he is currently gearing up for a book tour for his new book, "From the Ground UP: a Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America."

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