Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2014

Starbucks Coffee Company: Transformation and Renewal

by Nancy F. Koehn, Kelly McNamara, Nora N. Khan and Elizabeth Legris


Starbucks Coffee Company: Transformation and Renewal analyzes the turnaround and reconstruction of Starbucks Coffee Company from 2008 to 2014 as led by CEO and co-founder Howard Schultz. The case offers executives and students an opportunity to examine in depth how Schultz and his team saved Starbucks from near-collapse, by both executing a deep, comprehensive return to its core values and, at the same time, investing in a range of new products, customer experiences and organizational capabilities designed to make the company fit for enduring success in a turbulent global economy. Set against the backdrop of the Great Recession, the case also considers the impact of unprecedented important shifts in consumer spending and confidence as well as new competitive forces on Starbucks' transformation. The case concludes by examining Schultz's own leadership journey, the lessons he learned personally during Starbucks transformation, and how he is using these lessons—within Starbucks and on the national stage—to redefine the roles and responsibilities of a public corporation in the 21st century.

Based on extensive interviews conducted with Schultz and other Starbucks executives from 2011 to 2014, the case offers a range of vital lessons on leadership, organizational transformation, restructuring, strategy, innovation, entrepreneurial vision, and customer service.

Keywords: Howard Schultz; Starbucks; transformation; turnaround; Change; Decision Making; Entrepreneurship; Growth and Development; Leadership; Organizations; Problems and Challenges; Risk and Uncertainty; Strategy; Value; Consumer Products Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Retail Industry; North and Central America; Europe; Asia; South America; Middle East; Latin America;


Koehn, Nancy F., Kelly McNamara, Nora N. Khan, and Elizabeth Legris. "Starbucks Coffee Company: Transformation and Renewal." Harvard Business School Case 314-068, June 2014.