Home » 5 companies linked to Mellody Hobson, one of America’s top Black businesswomen

5 companies linked to Mellody Hobson, one of America’s top Black businesswomen

A trailblazing legacy across top companies

by Feyisayo Ajayi
Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson, a trailblazing force in business who ranks as one of America’s leading Black businesswomen, holds the reins as co-CEO and president of Ariel Investments, a financial powerhouse based in Chicago boasting $16.8 billion in assets. 

Under Hobson’s strategic guidance, Ariel Investments evolved beyond its mutual fund roots, embracing diversified offerings like separately managed accounts and institutional mandates. This propelled the firm’s growth and also firmly established it as a leader in financial services with a focus on diversity and ESG investing.

Beyond finance, Hobson made history by becoming the first African-American woman to lead The Economic Club of Chicago in 2017. Her impact reverberated globally, earning her the 94th spot on Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2020.

A dedicated philanthropist, Hobson donated to Princeton University, her alma mater, facilitating the establishment of a groundbreaking residential college named after her. In December 2020 she assumed the role of chairwoman at Starbucks Corp., making her the first black woman to chair an S&P 500 company.

Hobson’s influence extends beyond boardrooms, as she shapes corporate governance for companies like Starbucks and JPMorgan Chase, championing responsible business practices. Her commitment to social good is evident in her advocacy for financial literacy education and involvement in various non-profit organizations.

Billionaires.Africa highlights seven companies linked to Hobson, showcasing her transformative influence on these global leaders through strategic vision, social responsibility, and commitment to good governance.

  1. Ariel Capital Management
    At the helm of Ariel Investments, Hobson’s visionary leadership has positioned the Chicago-based mutual fund company as the oldest Black-owned investment firm in the U.S. Managing more than $16.8 billion in assets, Ariel thrives under Hobson’s commitment to value-focused strategies, particularly on undervalued small-cap stocks. Her dedication to investing in companies led by women and minorities underscores a profound commitment to driving economic progress. Ariel’s global expansion and unwavering commitment to diversity make it a cornerstone in the financial world.
  1. Starbucks Corporation
    Hobson’s influence extends beyond her role as chairwoman at Starbucks. A director since 2002 and chairwoman since 2017, she has been instrumental in the coffee giant’s growth, social impact, and governance. Hobson’s advocacy for mobile technology and digital strategies has elevated customer experiences and loyalty programs. With a 0.06-percent stake in Starbucks, equivalent to 721,977 ordinary shares, valued at $66.41 million, she stands as a key figure shaping the company’s future.
  1. JP Morgan Chase & Co
    Since 2018, Hobson has brought a unique perspective to her roles as Director and Board Member at JPMorgan Chase. Holding a 0.01-percent stake, equivalent to 147,634 ordinary shares, with a present value of $24.96 million, Hobson actively contributes to strategic decision-making, risk assessment, and corporate governance. Her insights on fintech and innovation initiatives bolster the company’s commitment to adopting new technologies for improved customer service and financial solutions, enhancing its overall success.
  1. Ariel Investment Trust
    As the chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust, Hobson pioneers initiatives such as the Black Investor Survey, providing invaluable data on minority investing trends. Through her involvement on numerous boards and councils, she amplifies the trust’s message and advocates for diverse representation in corporate leadership.
  1. George Lucas Family Foundation
    Beyond her business ventures, Hobson is a prominent figure in philanthropy. Serving as the vice president of the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation board and chair of After School Matters, she is deeply engaged in supporting organizations involved with arts, culture, film, education, and human services. Her notable achievements include being awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2019 alongside her husband, George Lucas. Hobson’s significant contributions extend to Democratic campaigns, and she co-chairs the Obama Foundation Chicago Committee, showcasing her commitment to social impact.

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