(CNBC) -- Howard Schultz is stepping down from his role as executive chairman of Starbucks, effective June 26, according to a memo sent to employees Monday.
Schultz is seen as the architect of the modern Starbucks, having overseen its expansion from a single coffee shop that opened in Seattle's Pike Place Market in 1971. He joined Starbucks in 1982 as director of operations and marketing. Over time he grew it into the iconic brand it is today, with more than 28,000 locations globally.
Schultz's latest leadership transition sparked speculation about his potential political plans: He has been a supporter of former President Barack Obama and Hilliary Clinton during her bid for president. Some have already questioned whether he would pursue his own presidential run.
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