Mellody Hobson

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Mellody Hobson
Born (1969-04-03) April 3, 1969 (age 54)
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
(m. 2013)

Mellody Hobson (born April 3, 1969) is an American businesswoman who is president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments,[1] and the chairwoman of Starbucks Corporation. She is the former chairwoman of DreamWorks Animation,[2] having stepped down after negotiating the acquisition of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., by NBCUniversal in August 2016. In 2017, she became the first African-American woman to head The Economic Club of Chicago.[3] She was also named to chair the board of directors of Starbucks in 2021, making her one of the highest profile corporate directors in the United States.[4]

As of 2020, she is listed as #94 in Forbes list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women.[5] On December 26, 2020 it was announced she was being named the chairwoman of Starbucks Corp., the first black woman to be chairperson of an S&P 500 company.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

The youngest in a family of six children, Hobson graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago in 1987 and from Princeton University in 1991.[7] At Princeton, Hobson was a member of the Cottage Club.[8]


Soon after her graduation from Princeton, Hobson joined Ariel Investments, a Chicago investment firm that manages nearly $13 billion in assets [9] as an intern. She rose to become the firm's senior vice president and director of marketing.[10] In 2000,[citation needed] she ascended to become the company's president.[11] Ariel Investments is one of the largest African American-owned money management and mutual fund companies in the US.[7] She was a contributor to financial segments on Good Morning America for many years.[11]

Hobson is also chairman of the board of trustees of Ariel Investment Trust. She is a regular contributor on financial issues on CBS This Morning and formerly a spokesperson for the annual Ariel/Schwab Black Investor Survey.

Hobson is on the board of many organizations, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Chicago Public Education Fund, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and the Sundance Institute. She is also on the board of directors of the Starbucks Corporation,[11] and formerly of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.[11] Hobson has been acclaimed in selections such as Time's 2015 Time 100 List, the magazine's annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world).,[12] Ebony magazine's "20 Leaders of the Future" (1992), Working Women Magazine's "20 Under 30" (1992), the World Economic Forum's "Global Leaders of Tomorrow" (2001), Esquire's "America's Best and Brightest" (2002), The Wall Street Journal's 50 "Women to Watch" (2004).[13]

Hobson created and hosted a show on ABC on May 29, 2009, called Unbroke: What You Need to Know About Money, featuring celebrities such as the Jonas Brothers, Oscar the Grouch and Samuel L. Jackson.[14]

In the American television drama The Good Wife, actress Vanessa L. Williams based her character, self-made businesswoman Courtney Paige, on Hobson, studying her via Hobson's TED talks.[15]

In 2017, Hobson was named to head the Economic Club of Chicago, the first African-American woman to do so.[16] In August, Hobson guest hosted CBS Sunday Morning's annual "Money Issue" episode.[17]

In June 2018, Hobson was named as vice-chair of Starbucks Corporation.[18] After heading the finance committee she was elected to chair the board in 2020.[4] In October 2020, Hobson and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation made the lead gift to establish a residential college at Princeton University.[19][20]

In 2022, Hobson joined an investment group consisting of Rob Walton, Greg Penner, Carrie Walton Penner, Condoleezza Rice, and Sir Lewis Hamilton that purchased the Denver Broncos. [21][22]


Hobson was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State's highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 2018.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Hobson began dating film director and producer George Lucas in 2006, after they met at a business conference in 2005.[24][25] Hobson and Lucas announced their engagement in January 2013,[26] and were married on June 22, 2013, at Lucas' Skywalker Ranch.[27] They have one daughter together, Everest Hobson Lucas, who was born via surrogacy in August 2013.[28]

Hobson was photographed by Annie Leibovitz for the 2016 Pirelli Calendar.[29]

She appeared on the Jack Good Show in August 2017, where she accepted the City of Birmingham's deepest appreciation for her charitable work with Birmingham's Bright Leaders of Tomorrow.[30]


  1. ^ Roeder, David (July 11, 2019). "Mellody Hobson named co-CEO of Ariel Investments". Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  2. ^ Mellody Hobson: Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dreamworks Animation website. Accessed 11-01-15
  3. ^ Marotti, Ally. "Mellody Hobson to chair Economic Club of Chicago, first black woman in post". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Ludlow, Edward; Roeder, Jonathan (December 9, 2020). "Starbucks Names Hobson Chair in Gain for Black Directors". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  5. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  6. ^ "Mellody Hobson becomes Chairwoman of Starbucks". December 26, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Mellody Hobson's Biography". The HistoryMakers. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  8. ^ "Ranking Princeton's Eating Clubs".
  9. ^ "Ariel Investments, LLC". Ariel Investments.
  10. ^ "Mellody Hobson Will Become Starbucks Vice Chair After Howard Schultz Departure". Fortune. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d McLean, Bethany (March 30, 2015). "Why Sheryl Sandberg, Bill Bradley, and Oprah Love Mellody Hobson". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
  12. ^ "Mellody Hobson: The World's 100 Most Influential People". Time. April 15, 2015.
  13. ^ The 50 Women to Watch, and The Wall Street Journal, 2004
  14. ^ "Un-Broke: What You Need to Know About Money". ABC News. May 29, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  15. ^ "Vanessa Williams on Miss America apology, "The Good Wife"". ‘’CBS This Morning’’. November 12, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  16. ^ "Mellody Hobson makes history at Economic Club". April 30, 2017. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  17. ^ ""Sunday Morning" full episode 8/6 - Videos - CBS News". CBS News. Archived from the original on August 7, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  18. ^ A.O.L. Staff. "Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz to step down". Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  19. ^ Fazio, Marie (October 10, 2020). "Princeton to Name Residential College After Black Alumna". The New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  20. ^ "Major gift from Mellody Hobson '91 names new residential college". October 8, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  21. ^ "Broncos and Walton-Penner family enter into a purchase and sale agreement". Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  22. ^ "NFL owners approve Walton-Penner group's purchase of Denver Broncos franchise". August 9, 2022. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  23. ^ "2018 Laureates Announced". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  24. ^ Art, The Lucas Museum of Narrative (July 4, 2023). "George Lucas". The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  25. ^ First Look: George Lucas On His Relationship | Oprah's Next Chapter | Oprah Winfrey Network, retrieved July 12, 2023
  26. ^ Schillaci, Sophie (January 3, 2013). "George Lucas Engaged to DreamWorks Animation Chairman Mellody Hobson". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  27. ^ Billups, Andrea (June 24, 2013). "George Lucas Marries Mellody Hobson". People. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  28. ^ "Everest Hobson Lucas Born To George Lucas And Mellody Hobson". Huffington Post. August 12, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  29. ^ "Annie Leibovitz Unveils 2016 Pirelli Calendar". Retrieved August 21, 2017.

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