Howard Schultz, the founder of Death Star coffee chain and religious icon Starbucks, built the company up from nothing with pure grit, energy, and a visionary outlook. Then he went too far, aiming to open 40-freaking-thousand stores (more than McDonald's), and the company's stock price cratered over the past year. Schultz brought himself back as CEO earlier this year, and the dynamic caffeine pusher has now revealed how he plans to revive his floundering company: by micromanaging the shit out of every god damn thing:
Mr. Schultz stepped down as CEO in 2000 but dove into side projects such as signing musicians to Starbucks's record label and marketing Hollywood films, occasionally wandering into managers' meetings unannounced. As chairman, he stayed involved in the nitty-gritty, deciding matters as small as the color of holiday cups.
Mr. Schultz, 54 years old, has been a whirlwind since he took back the CEO reins this year after several years as just chairman. He flew to Italy to look for the next generation of Frappuccino-like drinks. He sent executives to a Seattle library to see how it creates community. He himself studied a cheese shop in Seattle.
But Mr. Schultz wasn't forgiving in January, when executives decided to stop offering organic milk without telling him. After learning of the decision in media reports, he called in the head of food and beverage and a few others and upbraided them for not clearing the change with him, says a person familiar with the meeting.
He suggested incorporating photos into the store from a coffee-buying trip to Bali.
Before the company launched its new Pike Place Roast in April, Mr. Schultz selected which redesigned version of the old logo to use. As the promotional campaign neared completion, he decided it needed more warmth and called for revisions. He rewrote the press-release headline.