Diversity in Corporate America: Chicago Native Mellody Hobson to Become Chair at Starbucks by Donna John

Diversity in Corporate America: Chicago Native Mellody Hobson to Become Chair at Starbucks

Starbucks has named finance executive Mellody Hobson to lead its board as chair, replacing Myron Ullman who is retiring. This move makes Hobson one of the highest-profile black directors in America. Hobson became vice chair and Ullman chair back in 2018 when Howard Schultz stepped down. Hobson, 51, president of Ariel Investments in Chicago and director on the board at Starbucks since 2005, will transition into this role in March. 

Hobson, a native of Chicago, “worked her way up after joining Ariel as a college intern in the 1990s, going on to become the company’s vice president of marketing, then a senior vice president, and eventually president at the firm,” according to Fortune. For Hobson, community outreach has always been a priority. She currently is chair on the board of directors at The Economic Club of Chicago, and After School Matters, a nonprofit providing teenagers with programs after school hours.

"She has a grace and graciousness about her that is singular,” Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, told Bethany McClean in an article for Vanity Fair. “She is remarkably unique. She’s a stunning person. I get a little nervous talking about her because the words are so flowery. But it’s truly how I feel about her.”

We have no doubt she will bring that grace and graciousness to her chair role at Starbucks. 

Photo: George Lucas and Mellody Hobson at the 2017 LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Mark Bradford And George Lucas held at the LACMA in Los Angeles, USA on November 4, 2017 (Bigstock)

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Elisa Schmitz
This is so exciting! I love Starbucks and Howard Schultz, and Mellody Hobson is an amazing choice to take on greater leadership of this amazing company. Starbucks is a perfect fit for her (and vice versa). Kudos to Starbucks for this great move. Mellody, you are one of my sheroes. Can't wait to see you shine even brighter. Thanks for the great post, Donna John !
Ann Marie Patitucci
Congrats to Ms. Hobson! How exciting!
So inspiring! 👏🏻
Elisa Schmitz
Mellody Hobson is such an inspiration. Love that she keeps going higher and higher. Blaze that trail for others, YES!

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