Starbucks Corporation's (SBUX) rise to fame started in a single storefront at Seattle's Pike Place Market in 1971. Nearly 40 years later, the company has grown to become one of the most recognizable coffee retailers with over 29,000 locations globally. With a market cap of $82.67 billion on Dec. 13, 2018, Starbucks' explosive success is among the many great American business stories of our time.

While Starbucks is known for its coffee, the company continues to find growth through other beverages and products, including tea, beer, and wine. Starbucks has also continued to invest in its cafe presence by expanding its food options, remodeling its restaurants, and revamping its rewards programs. The company is making a major push into China, reportedly opening a new location every 15 hours. Starbucks announced its Q4 2018 earnings on Nov. 1, 2018. The company reported $6.3 billion in revenues this quarter, compared to $5.7 billion over the same period last year.

The top individual shareholders of Starbucks include financial giants, along with insider executives and former senior employees. Here are the four largest individual shareholders of Starbucks Corporation.

Howard Schultz, Founder, and Former Chief Executive

Howard Schultz is the founder, former chief executive officer (CEO), and single-largest shareholder of Starbucks. Schultz holds 33 million shares directly and 1.7 million shares indirectly through trusts as of Jun. 26, 2018. Schultz joined the Starbucks Coffee Company as the director of retail and marketing in 1982. In 1983, Schultz traveled to Italy and became enchanted with the tradition of Italian coffee roasting. He briefly left Starbucks to form his own coffee company, called Il Giornale Coffee Company, but returned to Starbucks in August 1987 — this time with a team of investors. At that point, Schultz purchased all of Starbucks Coffee Company's assets and became the company's chief executive officer. At the end of 2016, Schultz announced that he would be turning over the CEO role to Kevin Johnson. According to Schultz's most recent filing with the SEC on June 26, 2018, Schultz owns 33 million shares of Starbucks directly and another 1.7 million shares indirectly through trusts.

Schultz was awarded an athletic scholarship to Northern Michigan University, making him the first person in his family to go to college. Once there, he earned a bachelor's degree in speech communications.

Mellody L Hobson, President of Ariel Investments

Mellody Hobson is the president of Ariel Investments LLC, a Chicago-based investment firm, and the second-largest shareholder of the company. Hobson owns 246,000 shares of the company directly and another 283,146 shares indirectly through a trust as of Aug. 15, 2018. She has served on the Starbucks board of directors since February 2005 and amassed enough shares to make her the company's second-largest individual shareholder. Hobson has also served on the board of directors of JP Morgan Chase & Co since March 2018 and formerly sat on the board of directors of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc.

Hobson holds a bachelor's degree in international affairs from Princeton University.

John Culver, Group President of Global Retail

John Culver is the group president of Global Retail at Starbucks and the company's third-largest shareholder with 366,402 shares held directly as of Nov. 16, 2018. Since joining the company in August 2002, Culver has held many positions, including president of Starbucks' China and Asia-Pacific business, president of Starbucks Coffee International, and other senior executive roles with the company's Global Consumer Products segment.

Culver holds a bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Florida State University.

Clifford Burrows, Group President of Siren Retail

Clifford Burrows is Starbucks' group president of Siren Retail and the company's fourth-largest individual shareholder with 248,225 shares as of Nov. 16, 2018. As group president, Burrows is responsible for overseeing Starbucks Roastery, Reserve, Teavana and Princi operations. Burrows has worked with Starbucks since April 2001 and previously served as vice president of U.K. Starbucks in 2006 and president of the company's Europe, Middle East and Africa business from 2006 to 2008. He managed Starbucks Coffee U.S. from 2008 to 2011 and took over supervision of the Americas in 2011.

Burrows was raised in Zambia and completed his education in the United Kingdom.