Starbucks names finance executive Mellody Hobson as board chair
The position makes her the first Black woman in the role
Finance executive Mellody Hobson has been named by Starbucks to lead its board as chair.
Hobson, 51, will replace Myron Ullman III, who retired in March after serving on Starbucks’ board from 2003 and 2018 as chairman. Bloomberg notes that the position makes Hobson the first Black woman in the role, and one of the highest-profile directors of color in corporate America.
As an intern, she joined Ariel Investments, which manages nearly 13 billion in assets. Hobson was ultimately elevated to senior vice president and director of marketing. She’s currently working as a director for JPMorgan Chase, and previously served as a board member for Estee Lauder and DreamWorks Animation.
The Chicago native graduated from Princeton University in 1991. Over the years, she has been a vocal champion for corporate diversity.
The Nasdaq, in which Starbucks is a publicly-traded company on its exchange, wants the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to mandate corporations to include at least one woman and one underrepresented minority or part of the LGBTQ community on the board, CNBC reported.
“Disclosure is really the foundation of our markets and our economy,” Nasdaq President and CEO Adena Friedman told CNBC’s Squawk Box. “We rely on companies to make full and accurate disclosures to inform investors so that investors can make their own decisions as to which companies they want to invest in and what they expect of the companies where they’re an investor.”
The Nasdaq has 3,000 companies listed on its exchange.
“I’ve been saying we need less lip service, and we need more elbow grease, and so I think this time will be different because we live in a society that is holding us accountable … I think there is no way to escape actually having real results now: people are watching,” Hobson said in an appearance at The Economic Club of New York.
Starbucks former CEO and chairman Howard Schultz appointed Hobson as an independent Vice-Chair of Starbucks Corporation in 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“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,” Hobson said in a statement. “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.”
Hobson is the wife of film director George Lucas (Star Wars creator), and the couple has a daughter, Everest Hobson Lucas.
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