Starbucks is looking for external candidates to take on the role of CEO

Yahoo Finance Live anchors discuss reports that Starbucks is considering candidates for its role as CEO.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Starbucks is looking for a new face to lead the company. In an interview with “The Wall Street Journal,” interim CEO, of course, former and now interim CEO Howard Schultz said the company is primarily looking for outside candidates to fill the position on a more permanent basis. And Mr. Sozzi, you have to deal with it today. What do you think?

BRIAN SOZZI: No doubt about it. And look, this comes in the context, guys, from, I think, Wall Street wanting to know or get more clarity in Starbucks’ research process. So you see Howard Schultz giving his first interview since officially returning on April 4 as CEO of Starbucks, just trying, I think, to allay any concerns that he might be staying until 2024 or 2025, as he did in the past. So he tells the “Journal” that he will stick to the first quarter of 2023. And they are actively looking for candidates. And above all, he mentioned that they met some candidates.

Now listen, this has, I don’t think, been the comeback Schultz has wanted, at least since his return on April 4. He had a number of verbal gaffes during these employee meetings. And then, secondarily, look at stock prices. It’s very different from Howard Schultz. Since officially returning on April 4, Starbucks shares have fallen about 14%. Year-to-date, Starbucks stock is down about 32%.

So here is my opinion. And I’ve listed some key points here about what I think would be looked for in the next CEO of Starbucks. First and foremost, Starbucks’ next CEO shouldn’t be billionaire Howard Schultz, shouldn’t be billionaire Howard Schultz. I know Howard really likes this post. I’m sure he would like to keep this position for the next 35 years.

But it is time to pass the baton. And to that end, it would be good to see a diverse candidate inside Starbucks. Of course, Howard Schultz, he’s an older white man. The CEO who replaced him… an older white man. It would be nice to have a diverse candidate here with more real-world, on-the-ground thinking in addition to these last two CEOs leading the company.

In addition, restaurant experience is important. Kevin Johnson had a strong background in technology. In a perfect world, you get a marriage of these two in the next leadership – in the next target, technology, and restaurant experience leader.

Someone with a compelling personal story. And I look – I’m using Walmart CEO Doug McMillon as a good example here. He started working in Walmart’s stockroom. And now he runs the business. It would be great to find this person who started working at Starbucks in the beginning in the stores, and who is now taking over at a Starbucks. It is not known if this person exists, but it is very important because Starbucks is facing many employee concerns, union efforts are fighting. It would be nice if they had that person who can relate better to the employees.

And last but not least, hopefully they find someone under 60. You’re going to need a leader here who can lead Starbucks for the next five, 10, 15 years.

Brad Smith: At each point, you just named the COO who left, Roz Brewer…

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah yeah.

Brad Smith: –who left Starbucks–

BRIAN SOZZI: Which is crazy.

Brad Smith: –and would have been a great transition to the CEO role.

BRIAN SOZZI: Roz Brewer is amazing. It should be his job. She’s already starting to do great things…

Brad Smith: Absolutely.

BRIAN SOZZI: –at Walgreens. It should be his job. Not clear, of course, if she interviewed for that, not clear if she wanted to get that job. But she was doing good things at Starbucks. She deserved this job. Theoretically, she should be the next CEO of Starbucks.

Brad Smith: And Indra? Indra Nooyi?

BRIAN SOZZI: She is a member of the board of directors of Amazon.

Brad Smith: Yeah.

BRIAN SOZZI: I don’t think Indra wants to get back into the CEO game. I think she likes being there, promoting her book. She is enjoying this new era of her own career. But still, that should be Roz’s job. Roz is the bomb. She is great.

Brad Smith: Yeah.

Shirlene J. Manley