While that appears to be true, Mr. Schultz is tied to the company in countless other ways. Notably, his wealth was derived from Starbucks and remains intimately connected with it.
The company’s current proxy describes Mr. Schultz’s finances extensively, for example, citing him by name 93 times — more than the combined total of Mr. Johnson and Myron E. Ullman III, the chairman. With the help of Courtney Yu, director of research for Equilar, an executive compensation firm, I obtained a tally of Mr. Schultz’s compensation and holdings.
In the company’s 2018 fiscal year, for the months that he was executive chairman his salary was only $1. But Equilar found that Mr. Schultz’s actual pay — including exercised stock options, vested stock and retirement income — amounted to $76,745,740.
I asked Mr. Yu to assess Mr. Schultz’s total Starbucks compensation going back to 2007. It amounted to $774,622,478. And then there was his Starbucks stock: He controlled 37,694,049 shares on Dec. 17. On Friday afternoon, those shares would have been worth about $2.6 billion.
It is not just that Starbucks generated Mr. Schultz’s wealth. The company is his main credential as a prospective chief executive for America.
“My business experience is not qualification to run for president, but it is what I’ve learned along the way,” he said in a Houston “town hall” carried on CNN. He added: “Look at Starbucks, what I’ve done in the last 36 years.”
In politics, Mr. Schultz is positioning himself as socially liberal but fiscally conservative, a status that is consistent with his policies at Starbucks. He points to a socially conscious company that has provided good health care, pay and education benefits for its diverse work force — as well as enormous profits for investors. Since 1992, the annualized return on its shares has been 22.7 percent, according to Bloomberg. Mr. Schultz has made longtime shareholders rich.