Starbucks names Mellody Hobson non-executive board chair

Julia La Roche
·Correspondent
·2 min read

Starbucks (SBUX) named Mellody Hobson as the next non-executive chair of its board of directors starting in March 2021, making her the only African American woman to chair a Fortune 500 company.

Hobson will succeed Myron "Mike" E. Ullman, III, who has been on the board since 2003 and served as chair since 2018. Ullman will retire from the board in March.

“I am thrilled and honored to take on the role of chair. 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," Hobson said in a statement.

Mellody Hobson seen on day one of Summit LA19 in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Mellody Hobson seen on day one of Summit LA19 in Downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

Hobson, the co-CEO and president of asset management firm Ariel Investments, has served on Starbucks' board since 2005. She has served as the board's independent vice-chair since 2018.

In a statement, Starbucks' former CEO and current chairman emeritus Howard Schultz described Hobson as a trusted adviser for over two decades.

"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. My heart is full and thankful that Starbucks will have Mellody's leadership as chair," Schultz said.

Starbucks board also includes Domino’s Pizza CEO Richard Allison, Starbucks COO Roz Brewer, Nike COO Andy Campion, Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon, Apple vice president and managing director of Greater China Isabel Ge Mahe, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, former Lego Group CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Kissinger Associates co-CEO Joshua Cooper Ramo, Hearsay Systems CEO Clara Shih and Alta Growth Capital chairman Javier Teruel.

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.