Starbucks investor booed for challenging CEO's pledge to hire 10000 refugees

by Lawrence Cooper March 23, 2017, 1:56
Starbucks investor booed for challenging CEO's pledge to hire 10000 refugees

"For different corporations there's different reasons why", he says, "but with Starbucks there's a very clear reason why, and that is because of the liberal leanings of CEO Howard Schultz".

Yet it was the passing of the torch from Schultz to Johnson that took center stage, the most visible handoff yet of the succession announced in December. "They have made us a better company". For instance, the company has dedicated staff at busy stores to handle mobile orders.

Mobile order and payment now represents more than 8 percent of all transactions in Starbucks U.S. locations, and the company has about 9 million mobile-paying customers. "Howard [Schultz] and I both have spent so much time on this in trying to do this the right way, do this in a thoughtful way, a planned way". In January, the company cut its annual revenue forecast for this year, citing a challenging environment amid a broader industry slump. Schultz added that the throughput issues are minor ones that can be easily and quickly, solved.

Starbucks outlined its plan for the future during the meeting, one that will focus on human connection, relevant innovation, and the company's fastest growing market, China, as it moves forward with new president and CEO Kevin Johnson.

Most recently, he was one of the first non-tech CEOs to speak out about Trump's first travel ban temporarily prohibiting immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries, promised to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in 75 countries. This was met with some backlash on social media, with some users calling for a boycott of Starbucks.

With the opening of new Roasteries in Tokyo, Milan, Shanghai, and New York City, Starbucks will continue expanding its premium coffee pipeline, and Schultz said there is potential for 20-30 Roasteries globally.

Starbucks shareholders at the meeting could be heard audibly boo-ing Danhof after he asked his question.

"If there's one message that I hope you came away with today it's that none of the things that we have tried to do as a company, which is based on humanity and compassion, is based on politics", he said.

"We must do more for our people that we serve, the communities, and we have a bigger responsibility", Schultz said.

At its annual shareholder meeting in Seattle Wednesday, the company laid out a roadmap to address recent concerns about customer ease and accessibility.

The public has long speculated whether Schultz will run for political office himself. "As I have more time on my hands then I have had as CEO, that I can work toward elevating the national conversation on a more compassionate society, on a more compassionate government, and work alongside like-minded CEOs and government officials", he said.

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