Starbucks president and CEO Orin Smith will retire effective March 31, 2005. Smith, 62, will be succeeded by Jim Donald, president of Starbucks’ North American business.

“It is with both deep admiration and gratitude that we accept Orin’s decision to retire,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, in a statement. “Orin has been my long-term business partner in building Starbucks, and more important, my dear friend. His business acumen has helped Starbucks become one of the most respected global brands; his passion and respect for people and coffee is a true reflection of Starbucks culture, mission and guiding principles.”

When Smith joined Starbucks in 1990, the company had 45 stores in two countries, with revenues of $19 million. During his five years as chief executive, Starbucks increased its number of stores by more than 6,000 and revenues by more than $3 billion. Smith is also credited with sponsoring Starbucks Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

“Today, it is with immense gratitude, pride and sadness that I announce my upcoming retirement,” Smith said in the statement. “For more than 14 years, I have had one of the most incredible journeys business has to offer, and it has enriched my life in countless ways. I am honored to have been part of this journey, proud of what we have accomplished, and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

CEO-to-be Jim Donald, 50, has worked closely with Schultz and Smith over the last two years after joining Starbucks in 2002 as president, North America. In this position, Donald has been responsible for the overall management, business development, and operations of Starbucks in all North American markets.

Prior to Starbucks, Donald served as chairman, president, and chief exec for Pathmark Stores and also was a key executive in Wal-mart’s development of the Wal-mart Super Center, supervising all merchandising, distribution, store design, and real estate operations.

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