Howard Schultz may be thinking about a presidential run, as he’s hired the PR firm Edelman — and, specifically, Steve Schmidt — who helped manage the strategy of the presidential campaign of John McCain. While he has not specifically stated that he will run, there are signs that it may be possible for him to make a run for president in 2020.
Howard Shultz began his rise in the business world with Starbucks, a company which he joined in 1982 and bought for himself in 1987. After helping to expand the coffee chain, the company went public in 1992 and is now a globally recognized brand with a market cap of nearly 90 billion dollars. The returns from Starbucks are very uncharacteristic of food companies during the last 20 years. Investment returns for Starbucks were comparable to some of America’s best known and fastest growing companies, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Apple.
They have achieved these impressive financial numbers while at the same time giving their part-time employees benefits usually reserved for full-time employees. Benefits such as full medical and dental, free college tuition, and 100% matching on 401K are some of the most generous benefits for 20-hour-a-week employees.
The financial success of Starbucks is not the only aspect which people have come to recognize about the brand. Schultz has also been successful at making Starbucks seen by many as a socially progressive company, which has inserted itself into some current political issues such as gun control, immigration, and social issues. Below are a few examples of some of the issues which they have taken stances on:
- Banning open carry guns in its stores, even in states where open carry is legal.
- In response to Trump’s refugee policy towards some countries, Starbucks announced it would hire 10,000 refugees worldwide in response, prompting some controversy during a time when the issue was front and center in politics.
- The arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks this year put the company front and center on nightly news, and prompted Starbucks to shut down most of its stores for half a day of training its employees on sensitivity issues.
What would a run and election look like? Schultz could possibly bring aspects to a candidacy which drew many people to Trump, such as business and economic competency, as well as being somewhat comfortable with semi-celebrity status. Having written a few books, he is no stranger to the public spotlight, and has taken Starbucks from a few coffee shops to the global business chain it is today.
While he has not confirmed that he is running for president in 2020, many are asking if he could appeal to people who were drawn to a successful businessman running for president. Although both come from the world of business, Schultz and Trump have different personas and personalities, and would no doubt have different ways of managing the White House. But as of now, he has neither confirmed nor denied any plans to run… although the hiring of former campaign managers does give the possibility of a run in 2020.