Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Had A Heated Exchange With An Anti-Gay Marriage Shareholder

Howard Schultz

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has made it clear that his company supports same-sex marriage, and at the coffee titan’s annual meeting in Seattle, he had a heated exchange with a shareholder who criticised that stance, Gabriel Spitzer at KPLU reported.

It stemmed from the National organisation for Marriage’s decision to boycott Starbucks after the company endorsed a same-sex marriage bill in Washington state.

Shareholder Tom Strobhar, who, according to The Huffington Post, is the founder of the anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage Corporate Morality Action centre, was not happy about the boycott.

He said that it affected Starbucks’ bottom line.

“In the first full quarter after this boycott was announced, our sales and our earnings — shall we say politely — were a bit disappointing,” said Strobhar, according to Spitzer.

Schultz reportedly bristled, and said that it was about respecting diversity, not the bottom line.

Then, the CEO fired a broadside.

“If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 per cent you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much,” said Schultz.

KPLU has the audio, if you’d like to listen to a piece of the exchange.

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