‘I Thought He Was Joking’: Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz Shares Story Of Steve Jobs’ Intense Advice

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Mariane Angela Entertainment And News Reporter
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Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz shared a story of Steve Jobs’ intense criticism during an appearance on the podcast “Acquired” published June 4.

Schultz shared a pivotal encounter with the Apple co-founder that dramatically shaped the trajectory of his company. During a revealing episode of the “Acquired” podcast, Schultz recounted a walk through Apple’s campus in 2008 where he confided in Jobs about his leadership troubles at Starbucks. Jobs’s advice was both shocking and straightforward.

“He [Jobs] stopped me and said, ‘This is what you need to do… go back to Seattle and you fire everyone on your leadership team,’” Schultz recalled. “I thought he was joking.”

True to Jobs’s prediction, within the next six to nine months, almost all the executive team members was replaced, except for one. (RELATED: Starbucks Made A Big Show Over Their ‘Inclusive’ Bathroom Policy. Now They’re Regretting It)

“He was right, except for one,” Schultz added.

This move came during a turbulent time for Schultz, who had just resumed his role as CEO to steer the company through financial difficulties, according to Fox News.


Schultz, who served three terms as Starbucks CEO, finally stepped down from his interim CEO role in 2023, handing over the leadership to Laxman Narasimhan, a former PepsiCo executive, Fox News reported. Under Narasimhan’s leadership, Starbucks continues to navigate challenges, including widespread unionization efforts and a cautious consumer market which contributed to a 2% drop in quarterly net revenue to $8.6 billion and a 4% decline in same-store sales — the first since 2020.