Howard Schultz left Starbucks in 2000 due to exhaustion from growing Starbucks from a regional coffee chain to a global company over a period of 18 years. He returned eight years later because he felt the coffee chain was drifting from its core values, and he was concerned about its slumping performance.

The first chapter of Starbucks and Schultz's story is legendary. Schultz became CEO of Starbucks in 1982 with four branches in the Seattle area. In less than two decades, Starbucks had a presence on all continents, with 3,501 total stores and $2 billion in revenue. When Schultz came back to Starbucks in 2008, the company's fortunes were flagging. Its stock price had been flat over the past eight years, and competitors were eating away at sales and margins from the lower end and the top end.

Revenue was growing across the board, but it was not keeping up with new store creation. Basically, Starbucks was dependent on opening new stores for growth while same-store sales were declining. Schultz believed this was a critical moment for the company to go back to its core values and make necessary changes to reverse these trends and preserve the integrity of the brand.

He fired nearly all executives, shut down lagging stores and chartered a new course for the company to ensure that operations would not be sacrificed for growth. Wall Street has been enthusiastic toward Schultz's return and changes, as the stock has climbed more than fivefold between his return as CEO and March 2015. Schultz's original tenure as CEO also coincided with a more than tenfold rise in the stock price between its IPO in 1992 and his resignation in 2000.

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