Starbucks has appointed Mellody Hobson to be its next non-executive chair, effective March 2021.
Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments, will succeed Myron Ullman, who has served as chair since 2018 after serving 15 years as director. Hobson has served as a Starbucks board director since 2005 and was appointed the board’s independent vice chair in 2018.
“Mellody has been a trusted advisor to me and the company for more than 20 years,” said Starbucks founder Howard Schultz. “She is a fearless leader defined by her grace and wisdom. She has long embraced the purpose of Starbucks and, along with the leadership team, will continue to reimagine Starbucks’ future through the foundation of its past.”
Hobson also serves as a director of JPMorgan Chase and has previously sat on the boards of Estée Lauder Companies and DreamWorks Animation. She was considered for the role of treasury secretary before the Biden administration appointed Janet Yellen to the job.
Since 2005, the year Hobson joined the board, shares in Starbucks have jumped 550%. The company’s chair appointment comes amid a broader push for diversity on corporate boards. Earlier this month, Nasdaq asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for permission to require the companies listed on its main U.S. stock exchange to have at least one woman and one “diverse” director on its board.
“I am thrilled and honored to take on the role of chair,” Hobson said. “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. 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.”