March 21

“The Rise of Kevin Johnson: From Starbucks CEO to Social Justice Advocate”

Introduction

Kevin Johnson is a name that has become synonymous with Starbucks. The former Microsoft executive took over the reins of the coffee giant in 2017, and since then has steered the company through some very challenging times. Despite the coronavirus pandemic and other socioeconomic challenges, Johnson’s leadership has been lauded by both employees and customers. However, Johnson is more than just a CEO; he’s also committed to social justice advocacy. This blog post explores Johnson’s rise to power and how he has used his position to effect meaningful change.

The Early Years

Kevin Johnson was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1960. Growing up, Johnson was interested in technology and earned a degree in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University. After graduation, he worked for several tech companies, including IBM and Microsoft.

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Joining Starbucks

In 2009, Johnson joined Starbucks as a member of the board of directors. He quickly became an instrumental player in the company’s day-to-day operations and was eventually appointed president and COO in March 2015.

Taking Over the CEO Role

In April 2017, Howard Schultz, the company’s then-CEO, announced that he would be stepping down from the role. Johnson was announced as Schultz’s replacement, effective April 3, 2017.

Leading Starbucks Through Turbulent Times

Johnson faced many challenges as CEO of Starbucks. The company’s stock price took a hit, and there was a nationwide boycott of Starbucks in response to an incident at a Philadelphia store in which two African American men were arrested for sitting in the store without purchasing anything. Johnson responded by closing all of Starbucks’ stores for racial-bias training, which was widely praised.

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Social Justice Advocacy

Johnson has been vocal about his commitment to social justice advocacy. Under his leadership, Starbucks has made significant investments in programs that aim to promote racial equity, including partnerships with non-profit organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Anti-Defamation League.

FAQs

1. Who is Kevin Johnson, and what is his background?
Kevin Johnson is the CEO of Starbucks, and he has a background in technology, having worked for companies such as IBM and Microsoft before joining Starbucks.

2. What challenges has Johnson faced as CEO of Starbucks?
Johnson has faced numerous challenges during his tenure as CEO, including declining sales, a nationwide boycott, and the coronavirus pandemic.

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3. How has Johnson responded to the challenges faced by Starbucks?
Johnson has responded to challenges by leading with empathy and prioritizing social justice advocacy. He closed all Starbucks stores for racial-bias training and has made significant investments in programs that promote racial equity.

4. What is Starbucks’ approach to social justice advocacy?
Under Johnson’s leadership, Starbucks has made significant investments in social justice advocacy, including partnerships with non-profit organizations such as the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League.

5. What is Johnson’s role in Starbucks’ day-to-day operations?
As CEO, Johnson is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Starbucks’ business operations.

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6. What has Johnson accomplished during his time as CEO?
Johnson has steered Starbucks through some very challenging times, and his leadership has been lauded by both employees and customers. He has also made significant investments in social justice advocacy.

7. What is Johnson’s vision for Starbucks’ future?
Johnson is committed to ensuring that Starbucks becomes a company that is known not only for its high-quality products but also for its commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Conclusion

Kevin Johnson’s rise from tech executive to Starbucks CEO to social justice advocate is an inspiring journey. Despite facing numerous challenges, Johnson’s leadership has been instrumental in moving the company forward and has made a meaningful impact on society. With Johnson at the helm, Starbucks is not just a place to get a cup of coffee; it’s a company committed to social and environmental responsibility.

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