Howard Schultz, CEO of billionaire Starbucks, lived in public housing as a child

Decades of perseverance and hard work have clearly paid off for former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Today, the 69-year-old businessman is considered one of the richest people in the world, with the latest Forbes estimate putting his net worth at $3.5 billion.

Here’s a look at how the former longtime Starbucks leader has slowly built his fortune over the years.

Schultz had humble beginnings. He was raised in poverty and raised in public housing in Brooklyn, New York City, he told CNN Money.

“There was no way out. My father had no education, my mother did not work. It was just a tough time. As I got older, I really felt sorry for them,” he said.

According to Business Insider, he received a football scholarship to Northern Michigan University but later decided against an athletic career.

To fund college, he worked as a bartender and even sold blood. After graduating in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Schultz worked odd jobs. He worked at a ski lodge in Michigan, in sales at Xerox, and at a home goods store called Hammarplast.

He later left Xerox to become a manager for a Swedish coffee company. In 1982, when he was 29, Schultz was working for Starbucks as director of marketing and retail.

He later opened his own coffee shop called Il Giornale and eventually bought Starbucks from the original owners. Schultz built the company into the vast empire it is today.

In the summer of 1992, Starbucks went public, raising $271 million. Schultz remained in the CEO position until 2000, when he resigned to focus on helping the company expand internationally.

After eight years as Chief Global Strategist, he returned as CEO in 2008.

In December 2016, Schultz again left his CEO post and became Executive Chairman. A year and a half later, he announced his retirement from active management of the company.

However, after Kevin Johnson left the position, Schultz returned as interim CEO this March, earning just $1 for his salary. His third term as CEO ended after Laxman Narasimhan officially took over as CEO of Starbucks on October 1.

Schultz told CNBC’s Squawk Box that he will never return for a fourth term as CEO because Starbucks “found the right person.”

Currently, Schultz still owns more than 37.7 million shares, or about 3% of the company’s stock.

Outside of Starbucks, Schultz has been involved in the leadership world of pro basketball. From 2001 to 2006 he was the owner of the Seattle SuperSonics basketball team.

Schultz is also a co-founder of venture capital firm Maveron, which invests in consumer-only and early-stage companies.

Through the firm, Schultz has invested in consumer companies including Groupon, Madison Reed, Allbirds and Lucy.

Schultz had planned to run for president, but in September 2019 he said he would not run again because it would risk former President Donald Trump’s re-election.

Starbucks interim chief Howard Schultz is facing a growing union push at US stores as the chain reported a modest increase in quarterly profitsGETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA via AFP/ALEX WONG

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