Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson is an American businesswoman who is president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments, and the chairwoman of Starbucks Corporation.

Mellody Hobson is a prominent American businesswoman, born on April 3, 1969. She currently holds the position of president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments, a renowned investment management firm. Additionally, Hobson serves as the chairwoman of Starbucks Corporation, making her one of the highest-profile corporate directors in the United States.

Throughout her career, Mellody Hobson has held influential leadership roles in various notable companies. She was previously the chairwoman of DreamWorks Animation, where she played a key role in negotiating the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., by NBCUniversal in August 2016.

In 2017, Mellody Hobson achieved a significant milestone as she became the first African-American woman to head The Economic Club of Chicago, an esteemed organization focused on economic and business-related discussions and events.

Her accomplishments and influence have garnered her widespread recognition. In Forbes' prestigious list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women, she ranked #94 as of 2020, underscoring her significant contributions to the business world and beyond.

On December 26, 2020, a groundbreaking announcement was made, appointing Mellody Hobson as the chairwoman of Starbucks Corp. This appointment marked a historic moment as she became the first black woman to hold the position of chairperson of an S&P 500 company, further solidifying her position as a trailblazer and a role model for aspiring business leaders.

Mellody Hobson's impressive career trajectory and her pioneering accomplishments have made her a respected and influential figure in the corporate world. Her leadership, business acumen, and dedication to driving positive change continue to inspire and pave the way for diverse representation and excellence in corporate leadership.


Mellody Hobson, an accomplished American businesswoman, was born on April 3, 1969. She grew up as the youngest of six children and attended St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, graduating in 1987. Hobson pursued higher education at Princeton University, where she graduated in 1991. During her time at Princeton, she was a member of the prestigious Cottage Club.

Shortly after completing her education, Hobson joined Ariel Investments, a prominent Chicago-based investment firm. Starting as an intern, she steadily rose through the ranks, becoming the company's senior vice president and director of marketing. In 2000, she ascended to the position of president of Ariel Investments. The firm manages nearly $13 billion in assets and stands as one of the largest African-American-owned money management and mutual fund companies in the US.

Mellody Hobson's influence extends beyond Ariel Investments. She serves as the chairman of the board of trustees of Ariel Investment Trust and is actively involved on the boards of several esteemed organizations, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Chicago Public Education Fund, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and the Sundance Institute. Additionally, she is a board member of Starbucks Corporation and was formerly associated with The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Hobson's contributions to the business world have earned her numerous accolades and recognition. She has been featured in prestigious lists such as Time's Time 100 List (2015), Ebony magazine's "20 Leaders of the Future" (1992), and The Wall Street Journal's 50 "Women to Watch" (2004).

Beyond her business ventures, Mellody Hobson has been involved in media and philanthropic activities. She created and hosted a show on ABC titled "Unbroke: What You Need to Know About Money." Additionally, she has served as a guest host on CBS Sunday Morning.

In 2017, Hobson achieved another milestone as she was named the head of the Economic Club of Chicago, becoming the first African-American woman to hold this position. Her philanthropic efforts also extend to academia, as she made a lead gift, along with the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, to establish Hobson College at Princeton University, which will be the first residential college at Princeton named for a Black woman.

On a personal front, Mellody Hobson married film director and producer George Lucas in 2013. They have one daughter together, Everest Hobson Lucas, who was born via surrogacy in 2013.


Mellody Hobson's vision as an accomplished businesswoman revolves around promoting diversity and inclusion in corporate settings and beyond. As a trailblazer in the business world, breaking barriers as an African-American woman in leadership positions, Hobson prioritizes creating opportunities for underrepresented individuals and fostering an inclusive work environment where diverse voices are heard and valued.

Her involvement in financial segments on Good Morning America and her show "Unbroke: What You Need to Know About Money" demonstrates her commitment to empowering individuals with financial literacy. She champions the importance of providing financial education to help people make informed decisions about their money and investments.

As the president of Ariel Investments, a significant investment management firm, Hobson's vision centers on responsible investing and sustainable business practices. She considers environmental, social, and governance factors in investment decisions to ensure a positive impact on society and the environment.

Hobson's role as chairwoman of the Economic Club of Chicago and her contributions to education-related organizations show her dedication to empowering the next generation of leaders. She supports educational initiatives, mentorship programs, and leadership development opportunities for aspiring young professionals.

Her involvement on various boards and her philanthropic efforts underscore her vision of making a positive social impact. By supporting charitable causes and advancing social initiatives, Hobson aims to create meaningful change and improve the lives of others.

As the chairwoman of Starbucks Corporation, Hobson fosters strong corporate governance practices. She prioritizes transparency, ethics, and shareholder engagement to ensure the company operates with integrity and accountability.

Being a prominent female leader in the business world, Hobson's vision includes inspiring and supporting more women to pursue leadership roles. She advocates for gender equity and challenges gender norms in the corporate landscape, encouraging greater representation of women in decision-making positions.

Recognition and Awards
Mellody Hobson has received numerous accolades and recognition for her remarkable achievements. In 2018, she was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and bestowed with the prestigious Order of Lincoln, the State's highest honor, by the Governor of Illinois. Her influential impact extends beyond state recognition, as she earned a place on Forbes' list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2020, a testament to her outstanding leadership and influence in the business world. Notably, Mellody Hobson made history as the first black woman to assume the position of chairperson of an S&P 500 company, reflecting her groundbreaking accomplishments and inspiring role in corporate leadership.

Mellody Hobson
Greater Chicago Area, U.S.
Known for
Chairwoman of Starbucks
World's 100 Most Powerful Women (Forbes, 2020); The first black woman to be chairperson of an S&P 500 company
Princeton University (BA)
Social Media
Sat Mar 02 2024

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