Howard Schultz, who helped turn Starbucks into an iconic global brand as well known for its activism as its coffee blends, will step down from the role of CEO in April.

Schultz will become the company’s executive chairman, concentrating on ramping up the Starbucks Reserve Roasteries as well as the brand’s social efforts, while Kevin Johnson, the company’s current president and COO, will become the new president and CEO.

“Starbucks consistently outperforms the retail industry because our stores, our offerings and the experiences our partners create make us a destination,’’ Schultz said in a statement. “As I focus on Starbucks' next wave of retail innovation, I am delighted that Kevin Johnson, our current president, COO, a seven-year board member and my partner in running every facet of Starbucks business over the last two years, has agreed to assume the duties of Starbucks chief executive officer. This move ideally positions Starbucks to continue profitably growing our core business around the world into the future.”