Updated from Dec. 1 with analysts' comments
Don't call it a retirement.
The visionary leader of Starbucks, who was CEO from 1987 to 2000 and then again from 2008 until now, will assume the role of executive chairman, shifting his focus to innovation, design and development of the chain's high-end roastery concept. Taking over as CEO will be current Starbucks President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson, a long-time board member and Schultz confidant.
"Kevin has been a wise and supportive resource for me" through the years, Schultz told analysts on a conference call, adding that Johnson is "better prepared" to be the CEO of Starbucks given his "skillsets."
In his new role, Schultz will hardly be sitting back in a cushy seat and relaxing at home on a Wednesday afternoon. Instead, he will be trying like crazy to pull off quite another remarkable feat in a storied career: Get people to pay even more for a cup of coffee mostly by developing super premium retail experiences and likely, new exotic drinks and food.
In his second act, think of Schultz as attempting to turn Starbucks into the Louis Vuitton of coffee -- a premium experience both in terms of product (coffee and food) and shopping ecosystem (how you order and ultimately enjoy coffee and food).
He will drill down on two areas to try and make this coffee "premiumization" happen.