Mellody Hobson is now poised to become one of the most important black directors in corporate America. On Thursday, Starbucks announced that Hobson, a finance executive and CEO of Ariel Investments, will become the chair of its board beginning in March. Hobson will replace current board chairmain, Myron Ullman.
Although this may be Hobson’s most high-profile role to date, she is no stranger to the boardroom. Hobson currently sits on the board of JPMorgan Chase, and is a former director of Dreamworks Animation Studios. Earlier this year, Princeton University announced that it would name one of its residential colleges after her.
“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.”
The transition could not have come at a more crucial time. There has been a growing movement to appoint more black women to corporate boards of publicly traded companies. While other countries have diversity quotas for corporate boards, only 15 US-based S&P 500 companies have a female chairperson.