Starbucks executive chairman and board member Howard Schultz is stepping down from his role at the end of this month as speculations about his political future continue to rise.
CNBC reported that the announcement was made in a memo sent to employees on Monday, stating, "I'll be thinking about a range of options for myself, from philanthropy to public service, but I'm a long way from knowing what the future holds."
The move is seen by many as a potential indicator that he could be looking to run for president in 2020 as a Democrat. The New York Times reports:
Mr. Schultz’s decision to retire, a plan he said he privately outlined to the board a year ago, will most likely stoke speculation that he is considering a run for president in 2020. He is frequently mentioned as a potential candidate for the Democratic Party and has become increasingly vocal on political issues, including criticizing President Trump earlier this year as “a president that is creating episodic chaos every day.”
"I want to be truthful with you without creating more speculative headlines," Schultz told the Times. "For some time now, I have been deeply concerned about our country — the growing division at home and our standing in the world."
The announcement comes just days after the coffee chain closed approximately 8,000 stores for anti-racism training after two black men were arrested in one of their stores several weeks ago.
CNBC adds that former chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney, Myron E. Ullman, has been tapped to be the new executive chairman while the company is expected to name Mellody Hobson, the head of a private investment firm, as the new vice chair.