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Howard Behar

Founding President of Starbucks International
Leading Expert on Servant Leadership


Business & Management


Corporate Culture



Howard Behar is former president of Starbucks Coffee Company International. His career in business spans over 50 years, all in consumer oriented businesses covering several industries. For 21 years Behar led Starbuck’s domestic business as President of North America, and he became the founding President of Starbucks International opening the very first store outside of North America in Japan. During his tenure, he participated in the growth of the company from only 28 stores to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents. He served on the Starbucks Board of Directors for twelve years before retiring.

Howard now serves on several Boards including for-profit and non-profit organizations, including Anna's Linens, Sterling Savings Bank, Wild Ginger Restaurants, EZ Grill, Inc. and the advisory board of Anthos Capital. His non-profit commitments are to the University of Washington Foundation, The Robert Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and the Washington Business Alliance. 

Howard is committed to the development and education of our future leaders and has been a longtime advocate of the Servant Leadership Model. He has also authored two books on leadership titled "It's Not About the Coffee" and a new one called "The Magic Cup". He says it’s a parable about the power of putting people and values first. The book outlines the principles he followed to help Starbucks maintain its unique culture as the business scaled exponentially.


  • Servant Leadership
  • It's not about the Coffee
  • Management
  • Entrepreneurship


  • The Magic Cup: A Business Parable About a Leader, a Team, and the Power of Putting People and Values First, 2017
  • It's Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks, 2007