Howard Schultz is chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company. He purchased Starbucks in 1987 with the help of local investors in Seattle. He was originally drawn to Seattle and its extraordinary coffee culture in 1982 when he moved from his native New York to join Starbucks as director of operations and marketing when Starbucks had four stores. In 1983, Howard traveled to Italy and was captivated by Italian coffee bars decided to bring that back to the States. In order to pursue this dream, Schultz left Starbucks to start his own coffee company, Il Giornale, and returned in 1987 to purchase Starbucks. Schultz went on to create two landmark programs for Starbucks partners (employees): comprehensive health coverage for part-time partners and equity in the company in the form of stock options. Starbucks has grown to more than 16,000 stores around the world.