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In this Wednesday, March 23, 2016, file photo, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the coffee company's annual shareholders meeting in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is stepping down from his job in April



WATCH| Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will be stepping down from his role at the beverage company, Starbucks announced on Thursday. Schultz will become executive chairman, while current President and COO Kevin Johnson will step in as chief executive. The changes will take effect April 3, 2017.

Starbucks shares fell 4 percent in after-hours trade on the news of the C-Suite shake up.

Schultz won't be leaving altogether, but will instead shift his focus to "retail innovation and accelerating growth of Starbucks ultra-premium retail formats," the company said in a statement.

He has served his current tenure as CEO since January 2008. But this isn't the first time Schultz has stepped away from the role.

He first served as chairman in 2000 and resumed the role in 2008 after some time away.

As CNBC points out, Schultz first joined the coffee chain in 1982 as director of operations and marketing. 

Johnson has been with the company since 2015 and has served on the board of directors since 2009. Before that, he served as CEO at Juniper Networks.

"This move ideally positions Starbucks to continue profitably growing our core business around the world into the future," Schultz said.

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