Howard Schultz Says Steve Jobs ‘Screamed in His Face’ Telling Him to Fire His Entire Leadership Team—and He Was Right

In 2008, Apple founder Steve Jobs “screamed” in the face of Starbucks then-CEO Howard Schultz, encouraging him to fire his leadership team. Schultz has had three separate tenures at the corner office, starting in 1987 and continuing until 2000. His second stint was from 2008 to 2018, and a final return in 2022 for a year. The timing of Schultz’s second two appearances is important as 2008 was a year the company was in crisis and needed a turnaround, and the final return came after the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite being repeatedly used as a safe pair of hands for the brand worth more than $92 billion, Schultz has still leaned on other notable Fortune 500 CEOs. During his 2008 tenure, Schultz was introduced to Jobs and sought his advice on navigating the board of directors he had inherited. Schultz recounted the first contact he had with Jobs during his 2008 tenure, where he was invited to the Apple offices in Cupertino, California, to discuss the matter in person.

Jobs was famous for walking around the circular headquarters of Apple Park, and Schultz was asked about his problems and what he needed to do. He was told that he would fire everyone on his leadership team, but Schultz pushed back, saying that he had already done so. Schultz later met with Jobs again, and he told him that they were all gone.

As the world’s largest coffee chain with more than 32,000 stores worldwide, Starbucks has made the most of the opportunities afforded to it. However, Schultz regrets not trademarking the phrase “caffe latte” in America, which became standardized in America in the 1970s with the help of Starbucks. He added that they introduced caffe latte to America but didn’t trademark it.

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