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Howard Schultz, Noted Art Collector and Former Starbucks CEO, Drops Out of U.S. Presidential Race

Howard Schultz.

Howard Schultz.

TED S WARREN/AP/SHUTTERSTOCK

One of the more bizarre crossovers between the art and political spheres from the last year has come to a close.

Howard Schultz, the former chairman and chief executive of the coffeehouse chain Starbucks, announced on Friday that he was dropping out of the U.S. Presidential race. He had been considering a run as an independent, and in a letter to his supporters, he said that “not enough people today are willing to consider backing an independent candidate because they fear doing so might lead to re-electing a uniquely dangerous incumbent president.”

But there is more, he said in a letter also citing uncertainty over what kind of Democrat he would ultimately be competing with (a moderate would hurt his chances) as well as a back injury suffered in April.

Schultz had been chairman and chief executive of Starbucks from 1986 to 2000 and from 2008 to 2017. Between 2017 and 2018, he was the company’s executive chairman. After he left Starbucks in January of this year, he said on 60 Minutes that he was exploring a run for President as a “centrist independent.” (Despite concerns that he might split a vote against Trump, Schultz said he wanted the current Commander-in-Chief out of office.) For months, he had been considering a campaign—refraining from formally declaring a run while frequently voicing concerns about running against a moderate Democrat.

In addition to his business ventures, Schultz is an important figure within the art world. Since 2016, he has ranked on ARTnews’s Top 200 Collectors list with his wife Sheri. He is known to be a key collector in Seattle, where he has been spotted at the Seattle Art Fair.

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