Mellody Hobson to become non-executive chair of Starbucks Board of Directors

Hobson to succeed Myron E. Ullman, III

Starbucks Corporation will see Mellody Hobson become the non-executive chair of the Board of Directors effective March 2021. Hobson became an independent director in 2005 and began serving as the Board’s vice chair in 2018.

She will succeed Myron (Mike) E. Ullman, III, who will retire from the Board in March, announced the coffee giant. He joined the board in 2003, later becoming chair in 2018.

Hobson serves as co-chief executive of Ariel Investments, LLC, a global value-based asset management firm based in Chicago, with offices in New York, Washington, DC, and Sydney. There, she’s charged with management, strategic planning and business growth for all areas of the firm outside of research and portfolio management.


In March, Hobson will assume her new role of chair at the Starbucks Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

“As a member of the board for the last 18 years and board chair since my departure, Mike has been instrumental in ensuring Starbucks answers its higher calling to be a different kind of public company,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks modern day founder and chairman emeritus. “I am grateful to him for all his contributions and his enduring partnership to me and to Starbucks. Mellody has been a trusted advisor to me and the company for more than 20 years. She is a fearless leader defined by her grace and wisdom.”

Outside of Starbucks, Hobson has had significant boardroom experience. She currently serves as a director of JPMorgan Chase. Hobson also served as a past director of Estée Lauder Companies and chairman of the Board of DreamWorks Animation until the company was sold.


Hobson also serves as chairman of After School Matters, a Chicago non-profit with a mission to provide area teens with high-quality after school and summer programs. In addition, she is vice chair of World Business Chicago; co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art; and a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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