Mellody Hobson Becomes The First Black Chairwoman Of Starbucks Board


December 10, 2020

She can’t be stopped!

Starbucks just appointed Mellody Hobson as its new non-executive chair of the board, Businesswire reports. 

Hobson is the co-CEO of Ariel Investments, LLC, an international asset management firm. She focuses on management, strategic planning, and growth, also serving as Chairman of the Board overseeing publicly traded mutual funds. She spent more than 20 years as President there before becoming co-CEO. While also acting as past director of Estee Lauder Companies and Chairman of the Board of DreamWorks Animation. In 2005, Hobson joined Starbucks’ board as an independent director, eventually becoming the independent vice-chair in 2018. Now, as chairwoman, she is the only Black woman chair of an S&P 500 company.


The investment guru is taking over for Myron (Mike) E. Ullman, who has served on the Starbucks board since 2003 and as chair since 2018. Hobson will bring her unique expertise to the table and trusted advice. A Princeton alum, she has received some of the nation’s highest accolades for her work, including Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Award, honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, Johns Hopkins, St. Mary’s College, and the University of Southern California. She was also named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2015.

Starbucks founder and chairman emeritus Howard Schultz spoke about Hobson’s appointment, saying, “Mellody has been a trusted advisor to me and the company for more than 20 years. She is a fearless leader defined by her grace and wisdom. She has long embraced the purpose of Starbucks and, along with the leadership team, will continue to reimagine Starbucks’ future through the foundation of its past. My heart is full and thankful that Starbucks will have Mellody’s leadership as chair.” 

“I am thrilled and honored to take on the role of chair. Over nearly two decades, I have seen the company continue to elevate and transform its business – adapting to various market environments and evolving consumer trends. I look forward to working with the board and talented leadership team on accelerating our strategy, supporting our valued partners, and continuing to create significant value for all of our stakeholders,” Hobson said.


In addition to her work in the corporate space, Hobson also serves as Chairman of After School Matters, a Chicago based non-profit providing quality after school and summer programs to teens, vice chair of World Business Chicago, co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation and the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), as well as a member of the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees. 

Congratulations, Mellody!

Photo Courtesy of Calvin Sit/Bloomberg


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