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Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to step down

Howard Schultz, the visionary leader of Starbucks, will be stepping down next year as CEO of the iconic coffee giant.

Schultz's surprise decision to step aside as the leader of Starbucks sent the stock sinking 3% in after-hours trading on Thursday.

Starbucks said Schultz isn't going away completely. Effective April 3, he will become executive chairman, where he will focus on innovation, the design of Starbucks locations and the company's social impact initiatives. Current chief operating officer Kevin Johnson, a tech industry veteran, will replace Schultz as CEO.

"This is a good thing. I'm not leaving the company," Schultz told CNN's Poppy Harlow by phone on Thursday.

Even though Schultz hadn't telegraphed the move, the CEO said he had been planning the move for at least a year.

Asked if he's going to Washington, Schultz laughed and said, "No, I'm not going to Washington."

Instead, Schultz emphasized a desire to focus on the company's social impact initiatives.

"Given the state of things in the country, there is a need to help those left behind," Schultz told CNN.

Separately, in a conference call, Schultz said Johnson brings "unparalleled understanding of market dynamics" and he deserves a "tremendous amount of credit" for the company's recent record results.

Schultz joined Starbucks in 1982 as director of retail operations and he helped turn the company into a retail powerhouse and an iconic American brand. He stepped down as CEO in April 2000 to concentrate on executing the company's global strategy.

But Starbucks struggled without him at the helm and seemed to have lost its way. Schultz returned as CEO in 2008 and helped guide the coffee giant through the Great Recession and get it back on track. Today, Starbucks is valued at $84 billion and it has more than 24,000 retail stores in 70 countries.

Orlando named top winter travel destination

Cold fronts may be creeping across the majority of the U.S., but Orlando is still warm and sunny, making it a perfect destination for winter travelers looking for reprieve from the frosty weather.

Travel and booking site TripAdvisor announced the City Beautiful as the No. 1 winter travel destination where Americans can save based on search interest and average weekly cost.

“Americans thinking past the holidays and booking their winter vacations may want to consider traveling soon after the New Year, when some of the best rates are available,” Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor, said in a press release. “Based on TripAdvisor booking data, those that visit these hotspots during mid-late January can save an average of 16 percent compared to February or March.”  

For Orlando, the least expensive winter week is Jan. 16-22, which is 14 percent cheaper than booking during the most expensive week -- March 13-19. Guests can expect to spend, on average, $150 per night on a hotel room, $330 on a domestic roundtrip flight, $23 per meal and $76 for tours for a total of $1,870.

Based on that price, Orlando beat out hot spots like Las Vegas (No. 2), Cancun, Mexico (No. 3) plus Fort Lauderdale (No. 4) and Key West (No. 10).

To see the full list of top winter travel destinations and the breakdown of how much a visit to each of those cities would cost, visit TripAdvisor.com.

Student arrested for bringing gun to school, police say

An 18-year-old Mainland High School student was arrested Thursday for bringing a gun to school, the Daytona Beach Police Department said.

A student at the school told officials that 11th-grader Teryron Hills was bragging that he brought a gun to campus. Hills was taken to the dean's office, where administrators found a Smith & Wesson wrapped in a yellow collared shirt stuffed in the bottom of his backpack, the police department said.

Hills told administrators that he brought the gun to school to protect himself from other students, the charging affidavit said. The gun was loaded but did not have a magazine with live rounds, police said.

The teen admitted the gun did not belong to him, but refused to say where he got it, according to the affidavit.

A Volusia County Schools spokeswoman said there was no danger or disruption and Hills did not display or threaten anyone with the weapon. The school was not placed on lockdown because "administration and law enforcement addressed the incident quickly," she said.

Hills is charged with carrying a concealed weapon on a school campus.

James Mattis selected as Trump's secretary of defense

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. James Mattis as his secretary of defense, a source with knowledge of the transition says.

Mattis, 66, joins a Trump national security team that already includes retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser and Rep. Mike Pompeo as CIA director.

The official announcement is expected early next week.

The retired four-star general, known as "Mad Dog," was lauded for his leadership of Marines in the 2004 Battle of Falluja in Iraq -- one of the bloodiest of the war.

But he attracted controversy in 2005 when he said "it's fun to shoot some people" while addressing service members in San Diego.

Mattis' selection, which was first reported by the Washington Post, could put him in position to temper both Flynn and Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and an appointee of President Barack Obama -- whose generals Trump has said he distrusts.

Mattis has already proven to have the President-elect's ear. After meeting at Trump's New Jersey golf club last month, Trump said Mattis gave him a new perspective on waterboarding, a torture tool he has pledged to reinstate.

"General Mattis is a strong, highly dignified man. I met with him at length and I asked him that question. I said, 'What do you think of waterboarding?'" Trump told The New York Times. "He said -- I was surprised -- he said, 'I've never found it to be useful.' He said,

'I've always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.'"

"I'm not saying it changed my mind. Look, we have people that are chopping off heads and drowning people in steel cages and we're not allowed to waterboard," Trump said. But I'll tell you what, I was impressed by that answer."

Mattis would also need a waiver from Congress in order to be confirmed. A decades-old legal statute bars service members from quickly entering civilian positions, which would otherwise prevent Mattis from being eligible for the job.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a ranking member of the House Intelligence Commmittee, told CNN's Jim Sciutto Wednesday, however, that the regulation would pose as more of an inconvenience for Mattis's confirmation, rather than barring him from the job.

"It will certainly be an issue. I don't ultimately think it will be a bar because I think he is so well thought of that he can overcome peoples' reservations of that," Schiff said. "My guess is because his reputation is so strong and, frankly, because there's enough concern among Democrats about some of the President-elect's other choices, they'll be a desire to amend the statute if that's what' necessary and I believe it would be necessary.

In Mattis, Trump has a nominee who was held in high regard throughout the ranks of the Marine Corps during his 44 years of service. A seasoned combat commander, he led a task force into southern Afghanistan in 2001 and a Marine division at the time of the Iraq invasion in 2003. He was later promoted to run US Central Command in 2010 -- a post that gave him command responsibility for all US forces in the Middle East. He also was an outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear deal. He also has served as a commander of a major NATO strategic command, Allied Command Transformation, in Norfolk, Virginia.

Mattis butted heads with the Obama administration as head of US Central Command from 2010 to 2013 over the need to prepare for potential conflict with Iran.

He was a critic of the Iran nuclear deal and said at the Aspen Security Forum in 2013, when asked about his top concerns as head of US Central Command, "Iran, Iran, Iran."

Why is Mattis called "Mad Dog"?

Mattis earned the nickname "Mad Dog" after leading combat troops into the Persian Gulf War in 1991, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s.

He was called "Mad Dog" after the 2004 battle of Fallujah in Iraq, where he led British and American troops against Iraqi insurgents. He has backed up the nickname with off-color remarks, such as his 2005 declaration in a panel discussion about the Taliban that "it's fun to shoot people."

He is also a bachelor and an avid reader and student of military history, earning a second nickname: "The Warrior Monk."

This post has been updated.


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