Interview recorded June 25, 2020
This edition of Frank Discussions focuses on the leader of what may just be the world’s largest neighborhood business. President & CEO Kevin Johnson has spent the last few years helping Starbucks make the leap from founder-led to founder-inspired by “honoring the past while imagining the future.” And as the iconic coffee house approaches its 50th anniversary in 2021 with 32,000 store and 500,000 partners in 82 markets around the world, he’s committed to a values-based mission for humanity that looks beyond the bottom line to ensure Starbucks celebrates a 100th anniversary and more.
A passionate servant leader, Kevin proudly carries on Starbucks legacy of human connection, driving the company’s core strategies for growth, and in what he describes as his “simple job” – being of service to all who wear the green apron around the world.
Kevin’s commitment to innovation and following his heart extends beyond the world of business. He was a founding board member of NPower, an organization that provides nonprofits with access to technology and the skills needed to fulfill their social missions. He is involved with Catalyst, a leading nonprofit focused on expanding opportunities for women in business. At Starbucks, Kevin is passionate about continuing to nurture what’s at the heart of the company’s success: human connection – the tens of millions of occasions large and small that happen between partners and customers every week, and make a meaningful difference in the communities around the world where Starbucks does business.
In this interview with Dean Hodge, you’ll hear about the courageous conversations facilitated within the company to create a safe and helpful space for difficulty discussion including the challenges faced around race and equity. Kevin shares some insights into the partner roundtables that look at languages, cultures, religions and more to connect each new Starbucks to the people and communities it will serve. He shows his pride in the ways team members have stepped up and adapted throughout the pandemic in service to others. Looking to the future, Kevin also discussing the vitality of prioritization and sequencing in touting quality over quantity for long-term success. With tens of millions of app users and Starbucks loyalists around the globe, there’s no question Kevin’s “simple job” is anything but that (even if it makes it look easy). Find out who he looks to for inspiration…as well as what he’s ordering to start each day!
President & CEO, Starbucks
Kevin joined Starbucks in 2009 as a member of the board of directors during a period of record-setting transformation and growth. In March 2015, he took on the role of president and chief operating officer, leading the company’s global operating businesses across all geographies, as well as the core support functions of Starbucks supply chain, marketing, human resources, technology and mobile and digital platforms. He assumed the role of president and CEO in April 2017, as Howard Schultz transitioned into the role of executive chairman.
His career spans more than 30 years, scaling global businesses, including 16 years at Microsoft and five years as CEO of Juniper Networks. In 2008, he was appointed to the National Security Telecommunication Advisory Committee where he served presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.