Jason Del Rey

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As Starbucks Chief Howard Schultz Departs Square’s Board, Former Goldman Sachs CFO Joins

Howard Schultz headshot

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News

Digital payments company Square announced on Wednesday night that Howard Schultz, the Starbucks chief and an architect of the coffeehouse giant’s partnership with Jack Dorsey’s firm, had stepped down from its board of directors.

Square has named former Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar to replace Schultz.

Viniar retired from Goldman Sachs in January after more than 30 years at the firm, the last 13 of which were spent in the CFO role. Described in a New York Times piece from last year as “a financial wizard and deft risk manager,” Viniar now serves on the Goldman Sachs board.

His arrival will undoubtedly fuel some speculation that this is one of many personnel additions Square will make as it pursues a path toward an IPO.

A Square spokesman said Schultz had only intended to serve on the board for about one year; he joined last summer when Starbucks invested $25 million in Square and announced a partnership that made Square the payments processor for all Starbucks credit and debit card transactions in the U.S.

Still, his departure raises some questions, since Schultz was a key figure in Square’s push to recruit shoppers to the service. Part of the deal between the companies involved letting Starbucks customers use the Square Wallet mobile app to pay for purchases.

A Square spokesman confirmed that Schultz’s departure wouldn’t affect the two companies’ existing partnership, detailed in full here.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus