Mellody Hobson of Ariel to become vice chair of Starbucks

She also serves on the boards of JPMorgan Chase and Estee Lauder

Jun 5, 2018 @ 2:42 pm

By John Waggoner

Mellody Hobson, president of Chicago-based Ariel Investments, will add a new title to her already vast resume: vice chair of Starbucks.

The coffee company's executive chairman, Howard Schultz, announced Monday that he will leave Starbucks June 26 and become chairman emeritus. Mr. Schultz, 62, started at Starbucks in 1982, when the company only sold coffee beans, and built the company into the ubiquitous coffee house it is today.

His replacement as chairman will be Myron Ullman, former CEO of J.C. Penney.

Ms. Hobson will become vice chair when Mr. Schultz steps down, making her the board's second in command. She currently holds board positions at Estee Lauder and JPMorgan Chase, and as a board member at Dreamworks, she played a big part in its 2016 sale to Comcast for $3.8 billion.

"She has a grace and graciousness about her that is singular," Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former CEO of DreamWorks Animation, told Vanity Fair in 2015. "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."

"These appointments continue Starbucks' history of world-class, values-based board members, comprised of accomplished leaders representing diversity and excellence in global technology, retail, consumer experience and other relevant skill sets," the Seattle-based coffee company said in a statement.

Ms. Hobson, 49, joined Ariel as an intern in 1991 and became president of the company in May 2000.

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