Starbucks Founder Back in CEO Saddle

Will pare back coffee giant after sales stall and stocks tumble
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2008 7:45 PM CST
A coffee-drinker walks away from a Starbucks store in downtown Seattle in this Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007 file photo. Starbucks Corp. on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007 said its fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – Starbucks reacted to slow sales and new competition today by bringing back founder Howard Schultz as CEO, replacing folksy chief exec Jim Donald. "We must address the challenges we face and we know what has to be done," Schultz said. Schultz vows to reignite sales by trimming back US stores and management, and expanding abroad, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The coffee chain giant saw sales drop for the first time ever in its fourth quarter; execs blamed the economy, but analysts said the US market was over-saturated with more than 10,000 locations. The company also faces high-end coffee competition from McDonald's and Dunkin' Brands Inc. Schultz is returning as Starbucks CEO after being chief exec from 1987 to 2000; Donald is leaving the company, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.