Howard Schultz is an American businessman and the CEO and chairman of Starbucks. He was ranked in 2012 by Forbes as the 354th richest person in the United States, with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Howard Schultz was born on July 19, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York, to Fred and Elaine Schultz and grew up in the Canarsie Bayview Housing Projects. After graduating from Canarsie High School in 1971, he was awarded an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University. He was the first person in his family to attend college, and received his bachelor's degree in Communications in 1975.
After graduating, Schultz worked as a salesperson for Xerox Corporation. In 1979, he became a general manager for Swedish drip coffee maker manufacturer, Hammarplast. In 1981, Schultz visited a client of Hammarplast, a fledgling coffee-bean shop called Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle which he joined as the Director of Marketing a year later. Following a buying trip to Milan, Italy, Schultz persuaded Starbucks owners to offer traditional espresso beverages in addition to the whole bean coffee, leaf teas and spices they had long offered. Schultz noticed that in Europe there were coffee bars and cafe's on nearly every street, and envisioned the same in America. After a successful pilot of the cafe concept, the owners refused to roll it out company-wide, saying they didn't want to get into the restaurant business. Frustrated, Schultz started his own coffee shop named Il Giornale (after a newspaper in Milan) in 1985. Two years later, the original Starbucks management decided to focus on Peet's Coffee & Tea and sold its Starbucks retail unit to Schultz and Il Giornale for $3.8 million. Schultz renamed Il Giornale with the Starbucks name and aggressively expanded Starbucks' reach across the United States. Each Starbucks is corporate owned, as Schultz does not believe in franchising.
On January 8, 2008, Schultz regained his status as CEO of Starbucks after a hiatus of 8 years. While CEO of Starbucks in 2008, Schultz earned a total compensation of $9,740,471, which included a base salary of $1,190,000, and options granted of $7,786,105.
In 1998, Schultz was awarded the "The Israel 50th Anniversary Tribute Award" from the Jerusalem Fund of Aish Ha-Torah for "playing a key role in promoting a close alliance between the United States and Israel".
Schultz is also the former owner of the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics. He sold the team to an investment group in Oklahoma in 2006. This sale earned him a bad reputation in Seattle, and he is often thought of as one of the most hated people in the city. The team played as the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first time during the 2008-2009 season.