Mellody Hobson named head of Starbucks board — becoming only Black female chair of S&P 500 company


In March 2021, Mellody Hobson will become the only Black female chair of an S&P 500 company when she is promoted from vice-chair to chair of Starbucks’ board of directors. She will replace Myron “Mike” Ullman, who is retiring. Hobson has been a member of the board of the coffee chain since 2005 and became vice-chair in 2018.

“I am thrilled and honored to take on the role of chair,” Hobson said in a statement. “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.”


In addition to her role as Starbucks’ chair, Hobson also currently serves as the c0-CEO of Ariel Investments’ asset management firm, where she is chairman of the board of the company’s publicly traded mutual funds. She also serves as a director of JPMorgan Chase and previously served on the boards of Estée Lauder Companies and DreamWorks Animation. She is married to filmmaker George Lucas and is the former chairwoman of Dreamworks Animation

In October 2020, Hobson also made history when she made a large donation to Princeton University to establish a new residential college. Hobson College will be the first residential college at the university to be named for a Black woman. Hobson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy at Princeton in 1991.


“Mellody has been a trusted advisor to me and the company for more than 20 years,” outgoing board chair Ullman said in a statement. “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.”

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Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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