Chicago Native Mellody Hobson to Become Vice Chair at Starbucks by Donna John
Starbucks and Howard Schultz, chairman of the company, have had quite a year after the scandal of two black men being arrested in one of the coffee retailer’s Philadelphia stores. But it looks like changes are on the horizon. Schultz has announced he will step down from his role and will be replaced by Myron E. Ullman, former chairman of J.C. Penney. But the even bigger news is that Mellody Hobson, 49, president of Ariel Investments in Chicago and director on the board at Starbucks since 2005, will move into the role of vice chair. According to Black Enterprise, this will make Hobson “one of the very few African Americans in history to occupy such a role at a Fortune 500 company.”
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 vice chair role at Starbucks.
Photo: Mellody Hobson Twitter