by Compiled from Wire Services
Mar 24, 2017 12:00 am
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz presided over his last annual shareholder meeting as head of the company Wednesday by standing by its pledge to hire refugees and expanding on previously announced goals to hire veterans and at-risk youth. The moves underscored the progressive image Schultz has helped cultivate for Starbucks as he prepares to cede the CEO job next month to Starbucks President Kevin Johnson.
Schultz, who will remain executive chairman, defended the promise on refugees to a shareholder who criticized his willingness to have the company's reputation "take a beating" over it. The pledge came after President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees from seven Muslim majority nations, and had prompted some calls for a boycott of Starbucks.
"This is not about politics," said Schultz. He said the company's decisions were based on "humanity and compassion" and there was "absolutely no evidence whatsoever" that Starbucks has suffered as a result. Under Schultz, the company has waded into sometimes-heated subjects, such as when it had baristas write "Race Together" on cups amid protests over police shootings of unarmed black men.