Starbucks investors mourn end of an era as Schultz exits after nearly four decades

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Howard Schultz, who took up the post of executive chairman after he stepped down as chief executive in 2017, will be stepping away from Starbucks after nearly four decades to mull a "range of options."Ted S. Warren/AP Photo file

Starbucks Corp’s shares fell as much as 3 per cent on Tuesday as the departure of Howard Schultz, the entrepreneur who turned 11 cafes into a global juggernaut, added to a series of worrying headlines for the world’s biggest coffee chain.

Schultz, who took up the post of executive chairman after he stepped down as chief executive in 2017, will be stepping away from the company after nearly four decades to mull a “range of options.”

Under Schultz, the company reinvented the coffee drinking experience — introducing a consumer friendly environment where people could order a range of beverages and lounge for several hours.

A successful model drove the company’s share price for years, but recently Starbucks has been battling increased competition from rivals such as JAB Holdings and independent coffee shops. It is also facing slower growth in its dominant U.S. market, while also taking on a massive expansion project in China.

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