Former AOL chief Tim Armstrong considers Howard Schultz a mentor and would support him for president

  • "Howard is somebody who's done a lot for this country and a lot for the economy," says Armstrong, who launched a new investment company Thursday.
  • Armstrong says he would also be open to supporting Mike Bloomberg if he were to run for the White House against President Trump.
Tim Armstrong
Cameron Costa | CNBC
Tim Armstrong

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."

Howard Schultz
Pier Marco Tacca | Getty Images
Howard Schultz

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.

Armstrong said he'd also be open to supporting Mike Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and billionaire businessman, if Bloomberg were to run for the White House against President Donald Trump.

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.

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