Tim Armstrong — whose tech career included chief roles at Google, AOL and Verizon — told CNBC on Thursday he thinks of Howard Schultz as a mentor and would support the former Starbucks CEO if Schultz were to run for president as a centrist independent in 2020.
"Howard Schultz has been one of my mentors. He's spent a lot of time with me. I really have a tremendous amount of respect for what he's done at Starbucks," said Armstrong, who was one of Google's longest-serving executives before he left for AOL. "Howard is somebody who's done a lot for this country and a lot for the economy."
Late last month, the billionaire Schultz told CBS' "60 Minutes" that he's considering running for president "outside of the two-party system."
In 2011, Armstrong, as CEO of AOL, was one of the first chief executives to sign onto a Schultz initiative urging corporate titans to stop contributing to political campaigns until lawmakers in Washington pass a bipartisan spending package to control the nation's increasing debt.
Bloomberg, now a registered Democrat, also flirted with running as an independent in the past. But like many other Democrats, he warned Schultz a third-party candidate would split the anti-Trump vote and give the president a second term.