Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, stepped down as CEO in April 2017 and as chairman in June 2018. Now, he is stirring speculation about a possible 2020 presidential run. Speculation about Shultz’ presidential ambitions begins anew as many prominent Democrats have recently announced their candidacy.
Schultz reportedly plans to run as an independent candidate. He also plans to begin a book tour in 2019 for his memoir, “From the Ground Up: A journey to Reimagine the Promise of America.”
Schultz has long acted similar to a presidential candidate, even as a CEO.
“He always had an interest in politics, and always surrounded himself with politically minded people,” stated one former Starbucks employee who worked closely with Schulz for close to a decade to Business Insider.
Schultz has long been a politically active businessman, inciting rumors about a possible run for office for years. In 2011, Schultz encouraged people to only donate to political campaigns if the government addressed the national debt. In 2015, he championed the “Race Together” campaign concerning racism and police brutality.
As President Donald Trump rose to power, Schultz became increasingly outspoken, even endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Schultz reportedly has a close relationship with many political dynasties in Washington, including the Clintons.
“If President Clinton said he should run for office, he would do it,” said an ex-corporate employee in Business Insider.
An independent run from the prominent business leader has the potential to hurt Democrats’ chances to win the White House in 2020. Democratic strategists suggest that an independent candidate could split the progressive vote, administration’s increasingly aggressive immigration policies and the emotional testimonies of families hurt most by them.