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Starbucks Names Mellody Hobson As Its New Vice Chair

Starbucks Names Mellody Hobson As Its New Vice Chair

Photo credit: Calvin Sit/ Bloomerg 

Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, the first African American investment firm with publicly traded mutual funds, has just been named the new vice chair of Starbucks.

She will assume the role when longtime chairman Howard Schultz steps down on June 26, and according to Black Enterprise, will become "one of the very few African Americans in history to occupy such a role at a Fortune 500 company."

The news comes about two months after a racially-charged incident at a Philadelphia Starbucks led to the wrongful arrest of two Black men and a week after the coffee giant's racial bias training day. Myron E. Ullman, the former chairman of J.C. Penney, will become the company's new chair.

Hobson, who has been a Starbucks director since February 2005, started at Ariel Investments in 1991 as an intern. She went on to become president of the company and manage $13 billion in assets. 

In 1996, she co-founded Ariel Community Academy, a public school in Chicago that promotes financial literacy, and in 2002, co-founded the Black Corporate Directors Conference. Last year, she became the first African American woman to head the Economic Club of Chicago. 

In addition to Starbucks, Hobson has been a director for companies such as GroupOn, DreamWorks Animation, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., as well as served on the board of the Field Museum, the Sundance Institute, the Chicago Public Education Fund. 

Most recently, Hobson was elected to join JPMorgan Chase's board of directors. Is there anything Hobson can't do? The answer is no. 

Congratulations, Ms. Hobson!