Mellody Hobson To Become New Vice Chair Of Starbucks

Contributed by BreAnna Bell

Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investment, LLC, is set take on a new role as Vice Chair of Starbucks at the end of the month.

After quite the year marked with protests following the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia Starbucks, Howard Schultz, the chair of Starbucks, announced on Monday he will be abdicating his role at the end of the month after leading the company for 40 years.

Related: Two Black Starbucks Customers Settle, Fire Destroys Town Homes, Stabbing Victim Identified

The business giant left amid rumors that he may be considering a future in public policy. In his place, Myron E. Ullman, former chairmen of J.C. Penney, will takeover as chairman with Mellody Hobson as the Vice Chair, thus making her one of the few African American women to take on such a role with a Fortune 500 company. As of 2018, statistics show that black women only make up 2.2% of Fortune 500 board seats.

Hobson quickly rose through the ranks to become President of Ariel Investment from her initial role of intern after she joined the company in 1991 as a recent graduate of the Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy at Princeton University.

Listed on Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015, Hobson has served on the board of directors at Starbucks and the Estee Lauder Companies, Inc. Before the selling of Dreamworks Animation, she sat on the board as the chair. She has been seen frequently as a financial contributor on ABC’s Good Morning America, the featured consumer expert on Tom Joyner’s Money Mondays radio program, and a contributing author on multiple outlets such as the Huffington Post and Black Enterprise. She also works to inspire diversity in her workplace and the workplaces of others.

The Chicago native coined the term “color brave” during her TED Talk in 2014. In her own workplace, 51% of Ariel’s employees are women, 27% are African-American and nearly two-thirds of the executive team is both female and a minority.

Outside of her work in corporate America, Hobson has shown her commitment to diversity as the first African-American woman to head the Economic Club of Chicago.

Bill Bradley, former senator from New Jersey, is quoted in Time Magazine on his relationship with Mellody Hobson saying, “You do not have to wonder what Mellody’s opinion is. She also has a deep commitment to improving financial literacy among moderate and low-income Americans.

For more on Mellody Hobson, see here.

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