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Starbucks CEO to retire March 2005

Starbucks Corp. on Tuesday said its chief executive, Orin Smith, will retire March 31, 2005.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Starbucks Corp.’s president and chief executive, Orin Smith, will retire next year, the coffee retailer announced Tuesday.

He’ll be replaced by Jim Donald, president of the company’s North American division, effective March 31, 2005.

Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz called Smith a valued business partner who guided the company well.

“His business acumen has helped Starbucks become one of the most respected global brands,” Schultz said in a statement announcing Smith’s retirement.

Smith, 62, joined Starbucks in 1990, when the company had 45 stores in the United States and Canada. In his five years as CEO, the company added thousands of new locations, bringing the worldwide total to 8,500 stores in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim.

In the company’s statement, Smith said he was announcing his retirement “with immense gratitude, pride and sadness,” but did not say why he was stepping down.

Donald, 50, has been president of Starbucks’ North American division since 2002. Before that, he was chairman, president and CEO for Pathmark Stores Inc., a New Jersey-based supermarket chain.

Starbucks shares rose 23 cents to close at $48.04 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, then fell 30 cents in the extended session.