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Howard Schultz, who helped build Starbucks into a global food industry powerhouse, is stepping down as executive chairman of the coffee chain.

As executive chairman, Schultz oversaw the opening of upscale Reserve stores and massive Roastery showrooms as part of its new Siren Retail initiative.

Schultz, who oversaw the transformation of Starbucks into a global chain with more than 28,000 locations, had left the CEO job at the company a year ago to focus on innovation and social impact projects. Starbucks closed all of its company-owned stores in the US for four hours last week so employees could undergo racial bias training.

The Seattle-based chain says Schultz will take the title of chairman emeritus as of June 26, and is writing a book about Starbucks' social impact efforts. Last year, the company said it plans to hire 10,000 refugees over five years.

While speaking with The New York Times this week, he said: 'I want to be truthful with you without creating more speculative headlines.

Schultz said Monday that Kevin Johnson "is a true servant leader" who will lead the company into the future. He had endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton before the last presidential election and had sometimes deflected questions about whether he would run for office.

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"I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service", he responded.

Schultz, 64, over roughly four decades has built Starbucks into one of the world's most powerful global brands.

Schultz, added: "One of the things I want to do in my next chapter is to figure out if there is a role I can play in giving back".

Starbucks also announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Myron E. "Mike" Ullman as its new chair of the Board and Mellody Hobson as vice chair of the Board effective upon Schultz's retirement.

The move followed the April 12 arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks, which sparked outrage, protests and soul-searching about racial tensions that have been exacerbated under President Trump.

Starbucks shares were down 1.31 percent to $56.32 in after-hours trading on Wall Street.