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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

CNBC: Howard Schultz is the ‘Poster Child Democratic Candidate,’ former Yum Brands CEO Says

  • Former Yum Brands CEO David Novak says Schultz has managed to balance “his need for profit with his social agenda.”
  • Novak says Schultz, a businessman, has a “different story,” than someone like former President Obama, a community worker.
  • In a CNBC interview, Schultz declines to speak in detail about his future, saying, “Let’s just see what happens.”
Not many have a better resume than Howard Schultz, says former Yum Brands CEO  

Howard Schultz’s mix of business and social successes makes him a great potential candidate for president, David Novak, co-founder and former CEO and chairman of Yum Brands, told CNBC on Tuesday.

“He’s the poster child Democratic candidate,” saidNovak, founder and CEO of oGoLead, a digital leadership platform. “He’s got an unbelievably great business track record. He’s got a great social track record.”

And Schultz, who will become chairman emeritus of the coffee chain, offers something new, Novak said on “Squawk Box.”

“This is a guy who’s very well positioned to have a unique point of view that he can bring to the political landscape,” Novak said.

“[Barack] Obama was a community worker,” Novak said. “From a marketing perspective, [Schultz] has a much different story.”

Novak pointed out that Schultz, who announced plans Monday to step down as Starbucks executive chairman, effective June 26, has managed to balance “his need for profit with his social agenda.”

Some of the ways included offering health care to full and part-time Starbucks employees, stock options and college tuition for some employees.

“And there’s no secret that he is not a big fan of [President Donald] Trump and he’s expressed concern about where our country is today,” Novak said. “The big social divide and our status abroad.”

Schultz, who previously said he’s not interested in running for president, wrote in the employee memo on Monday that he would leave the door open to possible political endeavors in the future.

But in an interview Tuesday on “Squawk Box,” Schultz declined to go into detail about his future.

“There’s a lot of things I can do as a private citizen other than run for the presidency of the United States. And let’s just see what happens,” he told CNBC.

Harvard Business School senior fellow Bill George said a CEO as president would be “a big stretch,” but said he would like to hear more of Schultz’s views on a national level.

“I’d love to see him jump in there and compete with long-term established politicians,” George said on “Squawk on the Street.” “Could he make the big leap? I think we need a good contest to find out.”

George, former chair and CEO of Medtronic, a medical device company, pointed out that Trump was a business owner, not a CEO. “It’s a big difference,” he said.

This content was originally posted on CNBC.com on 6/6/18.