There may be some deluded souls who still question Starbucks’ ability to sell latte to the masses and populate the planet with coffeehouses. But Howard Schultz’s caffeinated plans for 40,000 worldwide units—more than two-and-half times the current global store count—are steaming along, with some 2,500 new stores expected to be serving up frappachinos this year. The 55-year-old Schultz also is tapping into the insatiable demand for entertainment content. Starbucks launched its own record label, Hear Music, last year and has partnered with Apple to allow consumers using iPhones, iPod touches or laptops to browse, search for, preview, buy and download music from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store.
An advocate of conservation and the Fairtrade movement, Schultz is a longtime champion of progressive employment practices that include providing health benefits even to part-time workers, a legacy of his growing up in a working-class family living with no health insurance. His efforts have achieved international recognition. In November, the U.K.’s First magazine conferred on him the Award for Responsible Capitalism 2007 for putting social responsibility at the heart of the company’s strategy.