Howard Schultz is stepping down from his role as chairman and CEO of the coffee-shop chain Starbucks. But he won’t be leaving—Schultz will be developing a higher-end chain of shops for the company.
The coffee chain announced that Schultz will remain at the company as an executive chairman after he leaves his post next year. Current president and chief operating officer Kevin Johnson will take up the position, effective April 3, 2017.
Schultz, in his new role, will focus on building out an upscale chain of coffeehouses called Starbucks Reserve Roasteries, and expanding the line’s retail presence around the world. The company had been experimenting with different global retail formats, under Schultz’s leadership. Earlier this year, it moved into the birthplace of espresso—opening its first coffee shop in Milan.
Schultz previously left the company in 2000, after growing it from a local coffee chain in Seattle into an $80 billion global powerhouse. He returned eight years later, in the midst of a global recession that he said had left the company in worse shape than he had anticipated.
Starbucks’ stock was trading as low as $3.92 a share in November 2008, and is now at around $58 a share. It fell almost 4% in after-hours trading on the news of Schultz’s resignation.