Today I’m going out to buy a Starbucks. Yes, I know I was just questioning a buy-less approach to sustainability versus a buy-more approach to economic recovery. But today I’m siding with recovery.
Why? Because today I’m in love with Howard Schultz.
The Starbucks CEO has decided to take a whopping salary cut, reducing his wage to just under $10,000, the minimum needed for him to still qualify for company health insurance. And yes, I know that his salary just a year ago was 1.2 million dollars.
And I also know that Starbucks is a brand people love to kick for all kinds of reasons, from over-priced cups of coffee to their ubiquitous presence in neighborhoods to indulging self-important customized orders with 8-name descriptors.
But, hell, Shultz is the only CEO of a large brand that I’ve heard of who is putting his money back into his company by taking next-to-none out right now for himself. The company announced significant lay-offs at the same time, which is never easy for those affected. But through his action, Schultz has acknowledged what all of us peons have been thinking: don’t those big-brand executives have enough personal funds right this very second to live ultra-comfortably for several years without touching a dime of their company’s operating budgets?
Shultz’s decision is all the more remarkable in the context of comments from Barak Obama yesterday. On Thursday, President Obama lambasted self-serving executives, labeling the actions of Wall Street bankers shameful for continuing to give themselves generous bonuses – to the tune of $20 billion -- at the same time they were taking bail outs and the economy was tanking.
So say what you want about Starbucks prices, or the fact they call a medium cup of coffee a grande, Shultz set a standard for others at the top. Others should follow his non-fat extra-light no-foam example.
p.s. If you have a story to share about the impact of being laid off or fired, please share it at my blog: