Howard Schultz Net Worth: 5 Facts You Need to Know

Howard Schultz

Howard Schultz’s net worth is $3.1 billion.

Schultz is the CEO of Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), the largest coffeehouse in the world with more than 23,000 locations.

Here are five interesting facts about Schultz.


1. Howard Schultz’s Net Worth Is $3.1 Billion

Howard Schultz has a net worth of about $318 billion, which makes him the 222nd richest person in the U.S. at the age of 62. (Source: “The World’s Billionaires,” Forbes, last accessed March 4, 2016.)

2. Schultz Was Not the Founder of Starbucks

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business in 1975, Schultz worked for Xerox Corp before moving onto a Swedish housewares company. The company had recruited him at the age of 26 to be vice president and general manager of their U.S. subsidiary, Hammerplast USA.

While working at Hammerplast, Schultz noticed that a small Seattle company named Starbucks was buying an unusually high number of espresso machines from the company. Schultz was intrigued and flew to Seattle to investigate. Founded in 1971 by owners Gerald Baldwin and Gordon Bowker, Starbucks sold fresh gourmet coffee beans as well as teas and spices.

Baldwin and Bowker, who had very little business knowledge, were so impressed by Schultz that they hired him as head of its marketing and retail operations in 1982 and made him a part owner. (Source: “Howard Schultz: Starbucks’ First Mate,” Entrepreneur, October 10, 2008.)

3. Starbucks’ Inspiration Came from Italy

A year into his stint at Starbucks, Schultz was on vacation in Italy. While sitting in an espresso bar, he realized that in addition to serving top-quality espresso, the coffee shop was part of the everyday culture for most Italians. It was a place where friends and family would meet and hang out for hours.

Schultz shared his epiphany with Starbucks’ owners, but they did not want to move beyond their core product offerings of whole bean coffee and leaf teas, nor did they want to get into the restaurant business.

Frustrated, Schultz eventually left Starbucks in 1986 to open his own espresso bar called Il Giornale. The shop was so successful that Schultz wanted to open more, but he didn’t have the funding to expand.

A year later, Starbucks’ owners wanted to sell their business and after gathering investors from the Seattle area, Schultz purchased the original Starbucks chain for $3.8 million, merged it with his own store, and set out the vision he had that you see today. (Source: Ibid.)

4. The Name for Starbucks Has Literary Inspiration

In his book Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time, Schultz says the name for his coffee conglomerate (which original owners Baldwin and Bowker came up with) was named after Starbuck, a character in the novel “Moby Dick,” written by Herman Melville. Starbucks’ logo was also inspired by a nautical theme, which Schultz says came from a 16th Century Norse print of a two-tailed mermaid. (Source: “Howard Schultz,”, last accessed March 7, 2016.)

5. He Owned a Basketball Team

Schultz was the owner of the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics from 2001 to 2006, which he purchased for $200 million. (Source: “Paid In Full: Schultz Buys Sonics From Ackerley For $200M,” Sports Business Daily, January 12, 2001;$200M.aspx.)

Schultz sold the team on July 18, 2006 to an ownership group in Oklahoma City for $350 million, after having failed to convince the city of Seattle to provide public funding to build a new arena. (Source: “Sonics sold to ownership group from Oklahoma City,”, July 17, 2006;

At the time of the sale, there was speculation that the Supersonics would be moved to Oklahoma City. On July 2, 2008, the new ownership group moved the Supersonics to their city and they became the Thunder for the 2008–2009 NBA season. Schultz filed a lawsuit against the group, claiming fraud and intentional misrepresentation, but the lawsuit was later dropped.

Howard Schultz’s Net Worth

Year Net Worth
2016 $3.1 billion
2015 $2.5 billion
2014 $2.1 billion
2013 $1.6 billion
2012 $1.5 billion
2011 $1.3 billion

Data source: Forbes