Kevin Johnson brings tech chops to the helm of Starbucks

Starbucks falls as CEO steps down

When Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz steps down in April 2017, the company's current chief operating officer, Kevin Johnson, will take the helm.

Johnson joined the Starbucks management team in 2015 and has served on the board of directors since 2009.

Schultz and Johnson met in the early 2000s when Schultz tapped Microsoft to help deploy wifi in Starbucks stores, according to The New York Times.

"Kevin has been a wise and supportive resource for me," Schultz said, during a conference call following the announcement Thursday. He said Johnson has provided "invaluable insights" to the company in the past.

"The two fiscal years following [Johnson's] engagement have been the best years in the history of Starbucks coffee company," Schultz said, attributing some of that performance to Johnson.

Johnson brings extensive knowledge of technology to Starbucks, which Schultz said will help reaffirm "Starbucks' position in all things retail."

"Many of you are familiar with the breadth of global management experience and the deep consumer and technology experience and expertise that Kevin brought to Starbucks when he joined our board in 2009," Schultz said. "For years he has provided invaluable insights into how we scale the company around the world and how to best integrate industry-leading customer-facing technology into our customer experience and operations."

This includes mobile pay apps and wi-fi that are used by the consumer.

Previously, Johnson served as CEO of Juniper Networks and was the president of the platforms division at Microsoft. He also served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama on the National Security Telecommunication Advisory Committee.

"Kevin brings to the CEO role an unparalleled understanding of the market dynamics and strategic choices that have driven Starbucks to become one of the world's most recognized and respected companies and brands."