One of the most notorious anti-union CEOs in recent memory is gone from Starbucks, two weeks earlier than planned.
“Starbucks’ new CEO Laxman Narasimhan has taken over the reins from interim CEO Howard Schultz, about two weeks sooner than planned.
Narasimhan was named the company’s incoming CEO on October 1 of last year. Since then, he has shadowed Schultz, who stepped into the CEO role for the third (and he says final) time in April 2022. Schultz was slated to hand off to Narasimhan on April 1.
In addition to taking over as CEO, Narasimhan joined the board Monday. He will lead the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday. The company pointed to the timing of the meeting to help explain the earlier-than-expected transition.
The handover is happening during a tense moment for Starbucks (SBUX), as it tries to fend off a growing wave of unionization.
NLRB administrative law judge Michael Rosas recently said that Starbucks had displayed “egregious and widespread misconduct” in its dealings with employees involved in efforts to unionize Buffalo, New York, stores, including the first location to unionize. Starbucks repeatedly sent high-level executives into Buffalo-area stores in a ‘relentless’ effort, the judge wrote, which ‘likely left a lasting impact as to the importance of voting against representation.’
Starbucks said in a statement at the time about Rosas’ order that it is ‘considering all options to obtain further legal review,’ adding that ‘we believe the decision and the remedies ordered are inappropriate given the record in this matter.’
Despite Starbucks’ actions, nearly 300 stores have voted to unionize and have been certified by the NLRB, so far. There are about 9,300 company-operated Starbucks store in the US.”
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