Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said to mull independent 2020 bid

Former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, who is launching a book tour next week, is reportedly giving serious consideration to running for president in 2020 as an independent candidate, The Atlantic reported on Saturday.

With the field of contenders to challenge President Donald Trump growing daily, Schultz is set to give an interview on Sunday to 60 Minutes, CBS’s flagship news magazine. While the network has teased a snippet of the interview in which Schultz harsly criticizing Trump, the coffee impresario who turned Starbucks into a global brand is weighing the idea of an independent bid, according to The Atlantic.

Representatives for Schultz did not immediately return CNBC’s request for comment. In response to an inquiry from CNBC, a spokesperson for CBS replied: “Watch 60 Minutes to see the Howard Schultz interview.”

Speculation has swirled around Schultz’s second act after Starbucks for at least two years, and the 60 Minutes interview could be the latest trial balloon floated by his camp. The Atlantic cited Democratic insiders as the most worried about a potential run for the presidency by Schultz, who are reportedly concerned that a third-party bid would siphon off Democratic votes, and ensure a re-election for Trump.

The 60 Minutes interview is timed to the release of Schultz’s book, “From the Ground Up,” which weaves together parts of his personal biography and his vision for the country. CNBC reported in November that the Brooklyn native — who’s worth at least $3 billion, according to Bloomberg — is building an elite communications team ahead of what could be converted into a White House campaign.

A key player in Schultz’s growing team is Steve Schmidt, a former vice chairman at public relations powerhouse Edelman who managed Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. In an interview with CNBC last year, Schultz left the door open to a run.

The Atlantic’s full story can be found on its website.

–CNBC’s Brian Schultz contributed to this article.

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