Eight years after he left the day-to-day operations of the company to become its chairman, Schultz returned to Starbucks and returned as CEO.
Starbucks was hurting, it had lost its way. The stock had dropped by 42 percent and even more alarming — store traffic was the worst in the company's history. Schultz says, "The company was in trouble and I felt the threat personally."
So under threat, he wrote what was supposed to be one of those "for your eyes only" memos, and as fast as you can say Caramel Macchiato the memo was on the internet.
In the memo "Commoditization of Starbucks" Schultz laid out what he thought was wrong with the company including its growth explosion, the height of the automatic espresso machines at stores' counters and he added, that something just didn't smell right at the stores: Schultz wrote the stores were missing the "smell" of coffee.
When the memo went viral - it was hugely embarrassing to Schultz and to the company. But now he says, "In retrospect, the memo served as a galvanizing force inside the company, spurring conversations that we desperately needed to have because it brought to light concerns that many people were already thinking."