‘He screamed in my face’: Howard Schultz reveals Steve Jobs’s intense advice to fire entire Starbucks leadership in 2008

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced an intense encounter with Steve Jobs, who forcefully advised him to fire his entire leadership team. Schultz shared this on the Acquired podcast, recounting Jobs's assertive approach and the eventual changes in Starbucks's leadership.

Livemint, Written By Shivangini
Published18 Jun 2024, 08:35 AM IST
Former chairman, and chief executive officer of Starbucks Corp. Howard Schultz,
Former chairman, and chief executive officer of Starbucks Corp. Howard Schultz,

Starbucks's former CEO Howard Schultz has revealed that Steve Jobs had "screamed" in his face while trying to convince him to fire his leadership team. Schultz shared this incident on the Acquired podcast, recounting the incident that  took place in 2008.

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“There was a future meeting scheduled for Starbucks and Apple around mobile order and pay and other things. I met Steve on a phone call -- had never met him -- was talking to him on the phone and I’m telling him what’s going on,” Schultz narrated.

Jobs invited Schultz to Apple’s campus, where they walked around the courtyard to discuss the matter further. Jobs was known for his walking meetings around the office courtyard,  Fortune has reported.

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“[Jobs] had a whole thing about walking,” Schultz said on the podcast. “He would go out and would walk around the building. And so I went down there, and basically, we took a walk. I just told him all my problems -- everything that was going on. He just stopped me and said, ‘This is what you need to do.’ He looked at me and said, ‘You go back to Seattle and you fire everyone on your leadership team.’ I thought he was joking.”

Schultz, taken aback by Jobs's suggestion, responded, “What are you talking about, ‘Fire everybody’? He said, ‘I just told you. F***g fire all those people.’ He was like screaming at me in my face: ‘Fire all those people, that’s what I would do.’ I said, ‘Steve, I can’t fire all these people. Who’s going to do the work?’”

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Jobs predicted that the leadership team would be "gone" within six to nine months.

“He was right. Except for one, the general counsel, they were all gone," Schultz confirmed.

When Schultz and Jobs met again, Jobs reminded Schultz about the missed opportunity. “I talked to him since then. We were on stage together at an event, and I told him, ‘They’re all gone.’ He said, ‘Well, you’re six months, nine months late. Think about all the things you could’ve done,’” Schultz recollected Jobs' comment.

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First Published:18 Jun 2024, 08:35 AM IST
HomeCompaniesNews‘He screamed in my face’: Howard Schultz reveals Steve Jobs’s intense advice to fire entire Starbucks leadership in 2008

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