Howard Schultz

Former Starbucks CEO

Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz


Born: July 19, 1953, New York City, New York, U.S.

The story of a poor guy making a fortune is common for the U.S. But no one had yet managed to repeat the impressive breakthrough that made Howard Schultz, an American businessman, best known as the chairman and CEO of Starbucks. He not only made a fortune but also won the hearts of all coffee lovers — from young to old.

  • How has he managed to become the 354th richest person in the United States, with a net worth of $1.5 billion (according to Forbes, 2012)?

Tough Childhood

Howard Schultz was born in 1953 in Brooklyn, New York,  in a poor family that has been working all the time to flatten the ends. His childhood wasn’t easy and all he saw was his dad’s “self-esteem fracture“.

He wanted more than living in the Brooklyn projects. Therefore, he entered the University of Northern Michigan and received a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing in 1975. He was proud to be the first member of his family to attend college.


Love at First Sight

After graduating from university, Howard worked for Xerox and Hammarplast before discovering a small coffee shop called Starbucks. After tasting Starbucks coffee, Howard immediately fell in love, because this coffee had nothing to do with the one he tried before. Shultz later recalled:

I went outside, whispering to myself: my God, what wonderful company, what a marvelous city. I want to be part of them.

It was love at first sight.

First Steps to Success

In 1981, he walked into the original Starbucks as an ordinary man and a year later was hired as director of retail operations and marketing for the growing coffee company.

One more year later he came up with the idea of selling not only beans but also drinks. It was a revolution, bringing in hundreds of people per day. In 1987, Schultz purchased Starbucks and became its CEO and chairman.

  • What’s the reason for success? Howard has already answered this question.

We’re not in the business of filling bellies; we’re in the business of filling souls.

Obsessed with Coffee

Today Starbucks is the largest and the most successful company that sells coffee in the world. By 2012, Starbucks had opened 17,600 stores in 39 countries (21,000 stores by 2014) around the world, and its market capitalization was valued at $35.6 billion ($60 billion by 2014).